Kelly Lenox

Heart of Soapstone

The fir-clad hills of Oregon, clear of 
poison ivy and fireflies, held me so well
that only now, as I begin my unfolding,
do I feel how their bones 
bite at my soft places. 

A sojourn of twenty-six years, as if 
my children drew me to the Northwest 
to birth and raise them, and my neck,
which took generations of careful breeding
to get this stiff, turned and complied.

Hope is a thing with talons.
I turn from its grip and look back toward
sweet tea and honeysuckle. The man 
I married didn’t understand porch swings. 
Single now, needing a job, I think dogwood, white pine,

and I turn, back toward the Blue Ridge mountains.
Somewhere, a stream-polished heart 
of soapstone tumbles, waiting 
for my hand to warm it.


Kelly Lenox has roots in Kentucky, Georgia, and Virginia. Her poems, translations, and prose appear in American Journal of Nursing, Faultline, Third Wednesday, Raven Chronicles, Dirty Goat 20 & 23, RHINO, Hubbub, The Drunken Boat, Stony Thursday Book (Limerick, Ireland), and elsewhere. Other translations appear in Voice in the Body (Ljubljana: Litterae Slovenicae, 2006), Six Slovenian Poets (Lancaster, U.K.: Arc Publications, 2006), and a chapbook, Chasms, by Barbara Korun (PM Books: 2003). She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and her manuscript, The Brightest Rock, was a finalist in the 2013 Jacar Press Poetry Book contest. Kelly is the Cave Region Review 2014 featured poet.


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