Karen Greenbaum-Maya

The Ballad of the Clairvoyant Widow

–a cento of lines of Christine Gosnay, Michelle Brittan Rosado, Russell Salomon, and, Theodore Roethke

Slow, slow as a fish she came,
A green angel swaying branches.
The wide streams go their way.
She went in slowly, and found him.
She watched the river wind itself away.

Everything undoes itself.
He woke with mountains in his knees.
She saw her father shrinking in his skin.
She thought a bird and it began to fly.
The light cried out, and she was there to hear.

The wings have fallen off. The arms too.
It was as if she tried to walk in hay.
Once she knew how to run.
She came to the western river,
breathed as if moving a hand toward a candle.


Source & Method

My bookshelves include collections of Christine Gosnay, Michelle Brittan Rosado, Theodore Roethke, and, Russell Salomon. I pulled quickly, trying not to think too much. The title is also found, from Roethke.

Karen Greenbaum-Maya believes that if you want to hit someone with a fish, you should just hit them with a fish, unless you don’t have a fish.

Issue 22

Karen Greenbaum-Maya

Issue 16


when White Dog raises his hackles
refuses to sniff your hand
when White Dog refuses to know your voice
when White Dog howls for no reason
when White Dog howls at the open door for no reason
digs a hole in your garden
then these acts keep away your true family

when White Dog sleeps, paws curled, tail outstretched
digs a hole in your garden
then these acts do not signal a breakthrough
then White Dog foretells death

when White Dog howls outside at night.
when White Dog howls three times, then falls silent.
when White Dog howls once, then falls silent.
when White Dog howls in front of a house where someone is ill
sniffs out landmines and trapped people
then White Dog tells you, Die a symbolic death

perhaps White Dog empowers and enlivens you, like yeast
perhaps White Dog asks to become part of your lifestream
perhaps White Dog longs to meet other beings like you
but White Dog howls at the open door for no reason

perhaps White Dog admires you
perhaps White Dog believes you
perhaps White Dog is light and shadow
in vibrational affinity
perhaps White Dog consoles you
but will White Dog forgive you?

SOURCE: found passim, Internet, googling “White Dog”

METHOD:  It is mostly a sense of hearing something present but unintended, hearing words from a language I speak but that is not often spoken.

Karen Greenbaum-Maya is a retired clinical psychologist, German major, two-time Pushcart nominee and photographer. Kattywompus Press publishes Burrowing Song and Eggs Satori. Kelsay Books publishes The Book of Knots and Their Untying. She co-hosts Fourth Sundays, a poetry series in Claremont, California.

Photo by Angel Luciano