holds court in a harvested cornfield
where her pages flock, hundreds of sandhill
cranes slate-gray, rusty undersides, crimson crowns.
Their queen looms, the marrow of their circle.
The ruffled alabaster plumage of her hat, collar, hair
matches the white peacock she walks on a leash.
The waterfowl preen, titillate, placate with dance:
bow, leap, staccato wing flap, the cadence
accompanied by trills and purrs that echo
through bleak autumn air. She carries a scepter,
crest a shock of quills and thistles. Or is it a riding crop
to maintain distance, keep the fray and their stiletto
bills away? She shuns the bare, tilted oak, the ashen
farmhouse—her birthplace—riddled with secrets.
—Inspired by Andrea Kowch’s painting The Courtiers (2016) *
is the author of five chapbooks, and three collections from Dos Madres Press:
Swim Your Way Back (2014), A Map and One Year (2018), and Where
Wind Tastes Like Pears (2021). Her work is published in The Adirondack Review,
The Ekphrastic Review, I-70 Review, Juniper, Poet Lore, Naugatuck River Review,
Salamander, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. Her poetry reviews appear in
Author’s website: https://karenlgeorge.blogspot.com/
Emily Carr: Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky
(1932–35), ekphrastic poem by Karen George in MacQueen’s Quinterly
(Issue 6, January 2021)