Karah Stokes

Sycamores bank the far side of the river 

Sycamores bank the far side of the river, curve over
its flow like musicians’ fingers. They dust
my side of town with puffs of seed. Next week
they’ll float green leaves like laundered sheets
across the riverbed. By June, a canopy.  

The full-dark moon’s a coin, a darker hole
in darkness’ center. An open door for hidden things.  
Dark nights hide predators from prey.  
Thunder. It’s going to rain, then doesn’t.  
A bird sleeps late, head hidden under wing.  

Things should stay hidden until their time.  
The pear explodes its packed and wadded blossoms
all at once. Sepals confetti the wind.   

I can’t stop what’s being born.
I can only refuse to name it.

Spring twigs exude a silk luminous enough
to light my side of town the same chartreuse.  
Magnolia buds close their dark doors to thunder,
spin open goblets filled with violet light.


Karah Stokes lives in Frankfort, Kentucky, and has published poems in New Southerner, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, Pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Culture and Literature, Journal of Kentucky Studies, and other magazines. A bluegrass song she wrote, "The Mourning Cloak," was recorded by Laurie Lewis and The Right Hands on their 2006 CD The Golden West, and had airplay on XM Radio.


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