2 poems — Karen Craigo


Another guest has left
behind her flowers,
so the proprietor
has brought me
a bouquet. There
is grace in wearing
out your fragrance,
in standing until
you start to sag.
Something is sharing
its close with me
and signals it’s OK
to start to lose
a little color. You
can still be beautiful.



Today my son
opened his arms wide
and shouted, “Missouri!”
He was astride
a slagstone wall
in Show-Me sun
in that field behind
the art museum.
We brought him here
from Ohio, months back,
but something
just struck him,
the boy’s arms
wide enough to claim
everything there was—
us, the field, the wind
moving the tops of trees.
Inside the building,
a special exhibit:
watercolor abstractions.
It’s the title that defines
each piece. Maybe
that’s the poet in me,
but I examined the swaths
of color across the paper
and didn’t see Monhegan,
a place I know, half
a country from here,
until I read the placard
announcing the name.
I recognized it then—
name conjured place,
the coast of Maine
in horizontal lines
of unlikely hue,
eggplant and brick,
nothing suggestive
of ocean or pine.
Here, my son’s face
is raised to touch
the light. Don’t
yogis do this—
greet the sun, usher
in the morning?
My son likewise
presents himself,
gives himself up
to the word, and
I beg you, Missouri—
love him back.


Karen Craigo teaches English to international students at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri. A chapbook, Someone Could Build Something Here , was published by Winged City Chapbook Press in 2013, and her previous chapbook, Stone for an Eye, is part of the Wick Poetry Series. Her work has appeared in the journals Atticus Review, Poetry, Indiana Review, Prairie Schooner, Puerto del Sol, The MacGuffin, and others.