Karen Warinsky began publishing poetry in 2011 and was named as a finalist for her poem “Legacy” in the Montreal International Poetry Contest in 2013. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, books and lit mags/blogs, and she has participated in many online open mics including Rattle’s Poets Respond and Ó Bhéal. She has two books, Gold in Autumn (2020), and Sunrise Ruby, (2022), both from Human Error Publishing. Her work centers on mid-life, relationships, politics, and the search for spiritual connection through nature, and she coordinates poetry readings under the name Poets at Large.
Find her at karenwarinskypoetry.wordpress.com
Things Get Lost
Things get lost,
too much history to remember—
too many ancient kings, dust entombed cities,
battles won and lost and won again,
countries and capitals renamed.
stone cuts soften,
ancestors fall from view.
We forget their names.
chosen by careful mothers
bestowing benedictions on babies
for a plentiful, happy future.
And so today,
before things get lost
say their names:
Breonna, Philando, Trayvon,
rolling out in a cadence of hope
unmet in this world.
Say their names.
the pond, still and calm
we paddled slow and silent
through summer’s last day
sudden gunfire nearby
Sunday in America
Swimming in the Time of Kali Yuga
Her fears sometimes glide inside me
doing butterfly kicks and easy breast strokes
while I cannot swim.
My fear of water runs deep,
placed there by my mother’s stories and doubts,
a liquid fright running over every part of her life
doused by 20th century challenges,
the opening act of the apocalypse, the Kali Yuga, the singularity.
It was windy and cool
the morning of our diving lessons
and the young teacher
kept her clothes on over her swim suit,
so, I thought,
“She won’t come in after me.”
“She won’t get her clothes wet,”
because I had been dipped in doubt,
prepared for betrayal,
taught to expect the worst.
I stopped taking lessons.
Years later my three children became lifeguards;
strong and fearless they dove,
swam past the buoys,
an overcompensation for my driftwood life,
which had taken me far from my past,
from many worries,
though I am always watching for
a flash flood,
a time of unexpected inundation,
a time when nature decides to take back what is hers.