Dear Carl Sandburg,
Your fog doesn’t come on little cat feet. Nor does it move on.
Rather it harbors in my mind.
A thickness I can’t see through. Although I know what is on
the other side:
A sky as clear as Baccarat glass.
A commuter train at 70 mph.
My medicated husband standing by the tracks.
Here’s the part where your fog descends. Thicker than blood
and flesh. More dense than eyes, muscles and tendons.
Heavier than my heart can hold. Than my mind can accept
after he hurls himself onto the tracks.
It’s been months and your fog has gotten fatter with fatigue,
remorse, memory loss, insomnia, depression.
The therapist says: That fog is a luxury many don’t have.
Minimum wage workers who are lucky to get a day off
for the funeral. People who can’t afford the fog.
He says grief is a gift that money buys. Friends send food,
flowers, cards, emails and donations that help keep this gift alive.
But I need to tell you, Mr. Sandburg: Your fog doesn’t come
on little cat feet. It comes on the claws of a tiger.
—With a nod to Carl Sandburg’s
Fog and The Right to Grief
—Winner of Oprelle Publishing’s Bigger Than Me Contest 2021 and published
in the anthology Bigger Than Me (Oprelle Publications, 2 May 2022); appears
here with poet’s permission.
is a widely published and awarded poet, nonfiction book author, essayist, and visual artist. Recent work has won Oprelle Publishing’s Master’s Contest, Oprelle Publishing’s Bigger Than Me Contest, the 2019 Poetry Super Highway Contest, the Nebraska Writers Guild’s Women of the Fur Trade Poetry Contest, New Millennium’s Monthly Musepaper Poetry Contest, and First Place in the Artists Embassy International Dancing Poetry Contest.
Her newest poetry book is the coauthored Trio: Poetrylandia 4 (Wapshott Press, 2020). Sex and Other Slapsticks (Presa Press, 2019) is her 14th chapbook. Earlier collections have won Poetry Forum’s Chapbook Contest Prize, San Gabriel Valley Poetry Festival Chapbook Competition, Encircle Publications Chapbook Contest, Best Individual Poetry Collection Award from Purple Patch magazine in England, and the Aurorean’s Chapbook Choice Award.
Her poems have found their way onto broadsides, buses, rented cars, bicycles, cabins, greeting cards, key chains, bookmarks, mugs, coffee-sack labels, church bulletins, radio shows, and cable TV, as well as into hundreds of national and international journals, magazines, and anthologies.
Ellaraine has been awarded multiple residencies and writing fellowships from both Centrum and Summer Literary Seminars, and thirty-some of her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She also teaches writing workshops, frequently judges poetry contests, and serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine Lilipoh.
Her pollages, which combine handmade papermaking, poetry, and collage, have appeared in juried art shows around the country and have been the subject of a one-woman gallery art show and several online essays and interviews. They also exist in several private art collections and have appeared in: The Centrifugal Eye, Rio Grande Review, Homestead Review, Sein Und Werden (England), Prairie Connection, Ascent Aspirations, and Alchemy. Ellaraine’s book The Gourmet Paper Maker (how to make paper with the inedible parts of fruits and vegetables) is published in six languages.
Ellaraine Lockie’s page at BookThatPoet!
Pollage Number 92, collage of poetry and hand-made paper
by Ellaraine Lockie with watercolor/embroidery art by Phyllis Ross, in
MacQueen’s Quinterly (Issue 1, January 2020)
Pollage Number 77, collage of poetry and hand-made paper by
Ellaraine Lockie with watercolor art by Phyllis Ross, in KYSO Flash
(Issue 10, Fall 2018)
The Mother Tree, Germany 1860s, First Finalist in The DavenTree
Writing Challenge sponsored by KYSO Flash (Issue 11, Spring 2019)
The Animal Inside, ekphrastic poem by Ellaraine Lockie +
photograph by Alexis Rhone Fancher, in KYSO Flash (Issue 10, Fall 2018)