Sometimes all you need is a shadow
as when sun through a window lands the crisp imprint of a lipstick plant (blooms,
leaves, vine) on the hardwood floor near your feet. Or from the high eyebrow
window, the ruby, emerald, sapphire bottles are cast on the glass tabletop clear
as in a mirror. Beauty you find when you gaze up from a novel you’ve been
immersed in for an hour, the curve of a lit lamp’s shade reflected along with its
soft glow onto the wall behind it—shape warped by the corner.
How on a crisp sunny day you can’t wait to walk through a park to photograph
shadows of bare trees on a soft expanse of unsullied snow. The way wind alters
water on a sun-struck lake, creates furrows that pass through geese’s mirror twins.
Sometimes all it takes to lift you from grief, worry, pain is to enter your bedroom,
see a laundry basket with light through slotted patterns projected onto quilt and
dresser drawer a yardstick away—so precise. You cover the echo with your palm,
feel its soft warmth.
Still, breathe, watch the shadows fade, sharpen as sun lessens, intensifies.
Karen George, author of the poetry collections Swim Your Way Back (2014), A Map and One Year (2018), and Where Wind Tastes Likeears (2021), won Slippery Elm’s 2022 Poetry Contest, and her short story collection, How We Fracture, which won the Rosemary Daniell Fiction Prize, is forthcoming from Minerva Rising Press in Spring 2023. She lives in Kentucky, and her work appears in Adirondack Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Cultural Daily, Indianapolis Review, and Poet Lore. See her website here.