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"A Love Song for Anxious Times"

A red-headed toddler feeds apple slices to a baby goat while

a well-on-her-way to zaftig young beauty in a wicker chair

who could be his sister

who is barely watching him there,

pushes her Ked sneakers against the porch floor to rock herself as she

pushes ice cream into her mouth at Kilby's Creamery, completely

contented to be a country girl with nothing to do on Sunday,

contented to enjoy the lusciousness of herself getting fatter,

slapping at a bee that's come too close for sharing,

slapping it away from her Dixie Cup of chocolate-nut

at the center of soft, rocking hills and curvy rows of corn

at the crossroads between the simple and profound,

as complicated as salt and pepper and just what

as wise owls say, the heart needs sometimes

to feel how little, really, real happiness needs at all,

to know contentment is a place like here where

everyone has to find out from a friend how to get there and

everyone still gets lost a few times but finally finds the right roads,

route 273, a straight shot past Fairhill Race Track to

route 896 that curls like the numbers in it do, through hills

pockmarked with falling stones and pump house cellar crumbles,

pockmarked with grave markers of civil war casualties,

where Antietam Creek still crawls with ghosts and

where dust and gunpowder still sometimes rise together

over plowed fields

over buried blood

in noon sun still staggering in its own heat

in what feels like another century

and now, as we drive past a few cows

and a service station branded simply GAS,

as the day leans towards husky afternoon,

as we decide we'll stop at Nutter's Crab Shack for take-out,

I'll be driving us there half listening to Johnny Mathis croon

I'll be looking at the moon, but I'll be seeing you.


Karen Hurley-Heyman grew up in the Pacific Northwest. After earning her M.A. and Ph.D. in Dramatic Art at Berkeley, she worked as an actress, teacher and playwright in San Francisco. Karen came to Delaware in 1983 to join the theater faculty at the University of Delaware. She went on to serve as Director of the Delaware Institute for the Arts in Education and Delaware Wolf Trap, promoting arts based education for children in grades K-12 and children in Head Start programs. She is now retired and has turned her full attention to her first love, writing. Her short story "Hard Sell" appeared in the Lewes Library Anthology No Place Like Here. Her poem "Spring Guilt" won second place in the 2012 issue of Out and About and her poem "Raptors" was published in the 2012 Fox Chase Review. She is currently studying with Gerry LaFemina and recently participated in this year's DDoA's Writers' Retreat at the Indian River Inlet in Delaware. You can read about the DDoA recipients here.

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