Kimberly Peterson

Poetry for Hope and Healing

Amid Mailbox & Maple

Hemorrhage

An elegant label for the body’s betrayal,
a leaky dam, a loss of containment.
Today’s trickles from once healed pin pricks
foreshadowed by your liver’s failure
to play its role in blood clotting.
 
Your eyes hold nimbus clouds compressed
to charcoal, no flash of fear, no bolt of anger.
 
You answer the question
my eyebrows ask.
It’s alright, I’m ready.
Anyone I can call?
No, no one.
Anything I can do?
No       well     yes       can you rub my feet?
 
I massage my promise
into your skin with lotion.
 
The next day, a new patient
occupies your room.


First appearing in Banister: Niagara Poetry Anthology Vol. 32 Oct. 2017 





Nation needs dementia strategy

Mother and daughter spliced together
attached to the same stalk. Peeling
back cob leaves reveals kernel
after kernel of mother’s decay,
until daughter cares for an empty husk;
withering in their private drought.
 
At her mother’s funeral, daughter
dreams of soaking in the tub,
wrapping herself in freshly
laundered sheets with no
one to interrupt her sleep.
 
She clings like a climbing vine nurse
who asserted “There’s no right way
to grieve.”
 
First appearing www.Bywords.ca January 2019
Sunset

Molluscan Memory

Aquarium existence in an office,
glass walls and window panes.
A parade of people tapping
on an always open door.
Window washers claim
the best view.
 
Hired for radula sharpness,
to rasp against browning
sludge for that clean idea,
 
without the title I’m a slug
chewing through yesterday’s
decayed novelties. Boss milks
anxieties to extract Tyrian
purple ink, regal flourishes
for her mundane briefs.
 
Clinging to walls, I inch along
to retreat under my desk. Heart
mussel memory pumps saline
through not yet inflated lungs.
Trickles from eyes shed double
helixed pieces of me searching
for a stream that floats to the briny
shores of birth.
 
But like a hermaphrodite,
I screw myself and remain,
as empty as a washed-up seashell,
selling out far from the seashore.
 
First appearing in In/Words Magazine & Press: Issue 18.2
February 2019

First Dental Appointment

With no appointment for myself,
I'm a severe seagull surfing currents.
You're intrigued by the hydraulic chair
florescent lights, and sit quietly.
I pat your hand, You’re such a brave boy.
 
Now its Mommy’s turn
 
I’m as trapped as that squirrel that fell
down the chimney, left hundreds of sooty paw prints
scurrying to escape.
 
Only one exit route, so I
climb into the dentist’s chair.
You pat my hand, You’re such a brave mommy.
 
First published by Poetry Breakfast.
Quinn and Avery

Sleeping with Sand

Jane’s husband is dead on arrival,
head-on collision. Empathetic murmurs begin.
She could have been working in ER today
but called in sick. I see colleagues scurry around
gathering shiny tidbits. Clear day, dry roads,
no rubber scars from slamming breaks. New
theories collect. Did he scream “I’ll teach
the bitch” when he veered hard left?
Angular comments resurrect
when Sue remarries one year later.
 
After my husband’s death, I know
the same colleagues gather
in two’s and three’s, lean
over steaming cups of black coffee,
full-bodied rumours soaking through
the hospital like the stain from a glass
of merlot toppled on crisp white linen.
“She’d just left him, so messy. Had to
kick down the door. Anyone know cause of death?”
 
A decade later, my dreams gush these
brackish memories with your fresh love.
Your brass bed, lodged on the border
between scrub grass and sand, glitters
with the caress of morning sun.
The stench of beached seaweed drifts by as seagulls
swoop up and down, carousel creatures released,
the ha-ha-ha of their call mocking me.
 
There’s warmth along my back. I turn to embrace
the one beside me, shrouded in white sheets.
Her deceased husband? Mine? You? An amalgam
of all three. As I struggle to untangle myself,
rain starts to drum away the shoal beneath brass feet.
I reach for a sea shell. Into its cochlea I confess
“ I only wanted space to live”
before my heart pounds me awake


First appearing in Ibis Head Review Vol.3 Issue 2 January 2018

Botany Lessons

I remember the moment the translucent soap bubble of clarity popped
listening to the radio as a back drop, occasional distraction to mundane housework
I had no interest in the gardening show, just too lazy to turn the dial
when a few snippets resonated, drawing my attention

like dust particles surfing air currents
or streaks on the bay window
suddenly illuminated by the afternoon sun

prefers indirect sunlight
doesn’t like wet feet
African violets flourish with benign neglect

Huh, that explains it
the masses of tender velvet leaves and yellow dotted
purple pedals while the Bird of Paradise droops, depressed

I expand my repertoire to include a Christmas
Cactus. Likes to be pot-bound. Needs several weeks of cool,
dark and dry to bud. With minimal effort, I’m rewarded
with a multitude of triple decker blossoms. So what
if they bloom in February. I don’t like
to force anything

If only I had learned sooner
that some lovers are tropical
and some thrive in the desert
I’d have been fewer botanical disasters in my past

First published in The Banister, Volume 31 (2016)

I remember the moment the translucent soap bubble of clarity popped
listening to the radio as a back drop, occasional distraction to mundane housework
I had no interest in the gardening show, just too lazy to turn the dial
when a few snippets resonated, drawing my attention
 
like dust particles surfing air currents
or streaks on the bay window
suddenly illuminated by the afternoon sun
 
prefers indirect sunlight
doesn’t like wet feet
African violets flourish with benign neglect
 
Huh, that explains it
the masses of tender velvet leaves and yellow dotted
purple pedals while the Bird of Paradise droops, depressed
 
I expand my repertoire to include a Christmas
Cactus. Likes to be pot-bound. Needs several weeks of cool,
dark and dry to bud. With minimal effort, I’m rewarded
with a multitude of triple decker blossoms. So what
if they bloom in February. I don’t like
to force anything
 
If only I had learned sooner
that some lovers are tropical
and some thrive in the desert
I’d have been fewer botanical disasters in my past
 
 
First published in The Banister, Volume 31 (2016)
Christmas Cactus

"I reach for a sea shell, into its cochlea I confess"