” The space we breathe is also called distance. . .”
— Linda Gregg
The trail to the ocean is steep.
The grass we walk through, high and wet.
I hear clear wind sighing
through slender pine, silence
between your words:
that place your loneliness lives
where I want to slip under,
move unbroken as stone.
I know where your pulse quickens
feels like water, too deep.
I know you think you might fold into yourself,
as stars do, where words might not matter.
This place you won’t go to let me hold you
is where I have gone.
Karen Benke received her M.A. in Writing from the University of San Francisco and her B.A. in English and Creative Writing from California State University, Chico. She is the author of Sister (Conflu:X Press, 2004), a chapbook of poetry. Her work is published in a number of literary magazines and anthologies, including Ploughshares, Hawaii Pacific Review, Runes, Poetry East, Tifert, Rockhurst Review, Clackamas Literary Review, HeartLodge, and Woman Prayers: Prayers by Women from Throughout History and Around the World (HarperCollins, 2003). She has received Individual and Community Artist Grants from the Marin Arts Council and was awarded writing residencies from Hedgebrook and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. A poet-teacher for 16 years with the California Poets in the Schools program, she holds a Masters Level certificate in Intuition Medicine from the Academy of Intuition Medicine, and is a writing guide for both adults and children. She lives in Mill Valley, California, with her husband, a screenwriter and arts attorney, and their eight year-old son.
Prior to reaching these lofty and well-deserved heights, Karen worked as a short-order cook, administrative assistant, receptionist, waitress, babysitter, bookseller, and kayak guide, all of which contributed immeasurably to the depth and honesty of her work.