Sylvia’s not dead-
I saw her,
Just the other day.

She was wearing Converse sneakers
But her eyes were made of clay.

I asked her to say “rubber crotch”.
She laughed inside my head.
How can I say words you ninny,
When I’m good and dead?

But Sylvia
I pleaded,
I’ve got that fever too,
And I know it didn’t kill you,
Cause that’s not what fevers do.

See my son once had a fever,
His whole body burning hot,
But the doctor said the fever kills,
The virus that he’s got.

I heard you speak on YouTube,
And your voice was strong and
Did not creep inside it
But then,
You died within a year.

It had to be the virus
Not your fever like they said.
And now I know who you thought
You’d made up inside your head.

They all think
You wrote about,
A man that you once knew.
A man who must have let you down
And made your breath go blue.

But Sylvia just told me,
Not a man
But her instead,
That she thought she might have made up,
Inside that burning head.


Paper Goods

Say one good thing,
I’ll do it right.
I’ll crack my throat
And let my heart beat through.
But it must travel first
Down roads best left unspoken,
Of lately freed
And broken
Out their shackles,
To burst
Into the light.

I can say one good thing
If I just move past,
And let it come,
From the hide of my soul.

But good’s not good unless it’s best
Of bad I’m good at making worst.
What’s gray turns black
Most ’fore the white,
When my heart’s left
To speak through its veins.

These good things wait,
Most patient.
What’s good is paper,
Plain and true
Made up of all the good we do.
It’s paper made more
By the pen,
And never woken,
Never sent.

But read aloud it catches fire,
And makes even
This damn wretch
Rise higher.

The paper
White and smooth,
Puts words to all my wishes.
Of love and joy, eternal life,
Of children, telephones,
And Satan running-
He’s scared of me.
For good is great,
When good can be.


Mommer’s House

Enter to the right toward a candy dish.
Behind which there’s a small ladder
That reveals people,
Coming and going from a donut shop on a sometimes busy street.

When I’m older the ladder becomes a novelty.
How sad,
A useless ladder.

The television plays the local news,
Or Days of Our Lives,
And for lunch
We eat nothing good like at Grammy’s-
Crabs, cookies, and the most moist cake,
More moist than my own tongue.

Here we eat peas or crackers
Next to the long, thin hallway,
Like my Mommer’s fingers.
And we don’t often go downstairs
Where the dead live.

by Karen Costa

Karen recently received an honorable mention for her short story “Charlie Shea” in the Glimmer Train Short Story Contest for New Writers. The Philadelphia Inquirer published her essay, “I Am an Island,” in their November 1st edition.

Listed at Duotrope
Listed with Poets & Writers
CLMP Member
List with Art Deadline
Follow us on MagCloud