Kate Hanson Foster & Karen Skolfield

Thursday, December 5, 2013, at 7:00 pm, poets Kate Hanson Foster and Karen Skolfield will continue the seventh season of the Collected Poets Series. Mocha Maya’s Coffee House, 47 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls, MA. ($2-5 suggested donation)

Kate Hanson Foster

Kate Hanson Foster

Kate Hanson Foster‘s first book of poems, Mid Drift, was published by Loom Press and was selected by Massachusetts Center for the Book as a “Must Read” in 2011. She gained her MFA from Bennington College, and her poetry has appeared in California Quarterly, Comstock Review, Harpur Palate, Poet Lore, and elsewhere. She lives with her husband, Bert and her two children, Henry and Coralie in Groton, Massachusetts.

Karen Skolfield

Karen Skolfield

Karen Skolfield’s book Frost in the Low Areas (2013) won the First Book Award for Poetry from Zone 3 Press. She is the poetry editor for Amherst Live, a quarterly production of poetry, politics, and more, and she’s a contributing editor at the literary magazine Stirring. Her poems have appeared in Best of the Net Anthology, Cave Wall, Memorious, Rattle, Tar River Poetry, West Branch, and others. She teaches writing to engineers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she earned her Master of Fine Arts. http://www.karenskolfield.blogspot.com/


DEAR LOWELL / Kate Hanson Foster

I have decided to leave.
Bought a log home in the country–
a few extra rooms and a half-acre in the back.

I left you a man on a downtown sidewalk, a poem
tucked within a park bench. In the Highlands
neighborhood there is an empty apartment
and an endless breath of cars passing.

I could tell stories.

How I watched the sun crawl across the Merrimack–
buttoning and unbuttoning to let my body flood
with that disappointed light.
I walked down too many alleyways alone,
looked the wrong people in the eye and dared

the knife to my throat.
(Outside–frog sounds swell in unison.
And for hours, this will be all that happens.)

I could forget everything.

Trim back the roses, try and rake you out of my yard.
I could light a fire, toss in some love letters,
let the heat burn off the cheapness of my heart.


Karen Skolfield

Mistake one: driving by two cemeteries when the kids
are tired. Mistake two: saying only some people get
buried. Where are the others, my son asks.

So I have to explain cremation. I’m smart enough
to leave out burials at sea, bodies never found,
the yawn of earthquakes, missing children,

teens on spring breaks that never end, bodies hidden,
basements and old barns and attics. What war can do.
Shells, mortar rounds, the terror of Claymore mines –

they’re filled with old screws and nuts, metal scraps
twisting through bodies until they embed deeply
into trees, even rocks. Someone angry invented

these, someone who lived in a junkyard.
So I don’t say this. All the while I’m trying to change
the subject, get them home. Look at the Christmas

lights, the yellow car, the cement mixer. But where
do you want your ashes, he says, where is it that
you love. He’s crying, he’s tapping my shoulder,

I’m exclaiming over a stray dog and do you think
we’ll get more snow, wouldn’t you love more snow
Walker; he’s saying when is Daddy going to die,

don’t die before me; I have both hands on the wheel,
I’m remarking over the stars, help me look for the moon,
I’m slowing for a stoplight that is red, red, red, red, red.