Kjerstin Anne Kauffman / Ingrid Ellison
My mother surreptitiously turns over peaches,
hiding the green ones, the bruised ones we ransacked,
I and my children, between the warm leaves,
before we can haul them to the scale.
Our plunder blushing in its cardboard crate
(yes, I crave it even now) does fail
to align. Big peaches jostle the small ones,
off-balance, or oddly oblate.
We have to respect the orchard, she’d said,
and she’d meant—suddenly, I understand—
produce culled, cradled, and basking
in ripe uniformity.
A pity we’ve left her to salvaging
what order she can, then bearing, with relative
grace, old Yaryan, who stoops,
weighs, and condescends
to advise: don’t turn up the stems, now.
Maybe we all of us, knowing best, err.
But who’ll forgive us our clumsy possession
of this fruit, these yielded gems?
Morning in the Cascades
The suburban smells like teenage boys
and coffee. But I’m in the back,
I’m the queen
of this expedition, who gets to sprawl
with Ebony, the dog, behind
the back seat, on the sleeping-bag-bed
over rucksacks and ski gear. I get
this envied seat, because when I read
The roads glisten
with ice. This drive is dangerous. Yet the whole,
parentless carload’s in thrall to Watership Down
though mostly they’re too old
for it, not bold
enough to admit they like it. I know
it bothers them—maybe it should—
that it’s a story about bunnies.
But it’s funny,
right now, no one wants to stop. We all
want to hear the world, like we thought,
is our enemy. We have to have cunning,
around in it. We have to have tricks.
Maybe they think, these brothers,
and these brothers’ friends, while I read
they don’t need—
But look. We have such power then. The sun
stands over the mountains. The snow
is everywhere. And my voice, as we are cresting,
is full, is arresting.
Turning, in Winter
Come inside, winnowing. Two months
this house has been in and out of a fever.
This room has asked me to bend
and whisk away: mucus, peevishness, sorrow.
Now the snow concentrates, heavy, tossing
on window and door. All day
I’ve been brooding the blue-light dispatches
of my phone—is this odd? some mother
had her children whisked by mistake,
by her benevolent state, by god—
The narrowest of passages, the most
impenetrable door I incline to survive as.
Nevertheless, I invite you,
flurry subsumed in this cavern, this room.
Ingrid Ellison is a painter working in oil and mixed media. Born in Boston, Ingrid has made Maine her home since 2007. She has exhibited at the CMCA, AVA Center for the Arts, Cynthia Winings Gallery, and Frank Brockman Gallery. Ingrid has a passion for sharing what she does with students both school aged and adult.
Kjerstin Anne Kauffman has taught creative writing at Johns Hopkins University and Hillsdale College. Her poems, essays, and reviews appear in many periodicals including Literary Matters, Gulf Coast, 32 Poems, The Cresset, Salamander, and The American Poetry Review.