Kari Gunter-Seymour

Daughter-in-law Mine, Once Removed

there is a wall on the US/Mexico border 
made of surplus steel and wire mesh.
A thousand miles worth, back yards 
and alleys in Chula Vista, as far up as Temecula.
Children stand on our side, poke tiny fingers 
against those hardly even holes for the slightest 
brush of their grandmother’s fingers, 
pressed inward from the Tijuana side.
I saw it in Time magazine and cried, my own fingers 
urgent, the iciness of your Colorado stand-off, 
rigid as anything man-made.

Surely you remember this rich Ohio soil, 
ripe to bursting, water pure, pastures plush.
A woman can make her way here.  
I don’t care about the details, who was right, 
who should have got what, but didn’t. 
I don’t mind that you will never love again, 
and hell’s to pay.

I care my body has gone to wrinkle
and the world to concrete and convenience.
Tractors traded for fracking augers,
though this parcel will never fall, 
long as I can steady a shotgun.
With no partner but a wall to cling to,  
what’s balled up can only bounce back.
Raised without old ways, a granddaughter 
might never make out why 
her body aches for seed and trowel.

It came to me, riffling National Geo
to send this telescope, highly 
recommended for its ability to reflect.
Along with the moon and stars, 
help her please to look south of Lake Erie,
by way of the Appalachians, then east-by-southeast.
Tell her that’s her grandmother,
top of Beck’s Knob, waving a white hankie.


Kari Gunter-Seymour holds a BFA in graphic design and an MA in commercial photography. Her poetry appears in several publications including, Rattle, Main Street Rag, Crab Orchard Review, and The LA Times. Her chapbook, Serving, chosen runner up in the 2016 Yellow Chair Review Annual Chapbook Contest, is forthcoming. She is the founder/curator of the “Women of Appalachia Project,” an arts organization (fine art and spoken word) she created to address discrimination directed at women living in Appalachia. 



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