by Kari Gunter-Seymour


acidic and yeasty,
proofs in a pool of first light,
a blush of warmth that grows and shifts
inside a yellow bowl.

I brush leavings: flour, sugar, salt,
a memory closing in. I turn
at the sound of my name, a whisper
shambling up my spine.

I’ve been lonely before,
survived some bad stretches,
but she, pale-faced, red dirt dusted,
lips too shy to hold on to language,

is so gone, as if love never counted—
a white spot where a painting used to shine.
I bake, broom,
bounce the grandchildren,

every breath ragged with bones.
That’s what time does,
turns mourning into

Kari Gunter-Seymour is the Poet Laureate of Ohio and the founder/executive director of the Women of Appalachia Project, as well as editor of its anthology series, Women Speak. Her current collections include Alone in the House of My Heart (Ohio University Swallow Press, 2022) and A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen (Sheila Na Gig Editions, 2020), winner of the 2020 Ohio Poet of the Year Award. Her work has been featured on Verse Daily, World Literature Today, The New York Times and Poem-a-Day.