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Spring Poetry Contest — Honorable Mention: Connie Kopko Kramer

Connie Kopko Kramer photoConnie Kopko Kramer is a microbiologist and lab manager for biology and chemistry at the Stark Campus of Kent State University (Ohio). Kramer satisfies her curiosity about the visible and invisible world through both microscopy and poetry. Her cultural and agri-cultural activities include painting, yogurt-making, and permaculture gardening. Her poems have appeared in several publications including Poetry Quarterly and The Red River Review.

Under the Boughs of a Signal Tree

i.m. Mary Oliver 1935-2019

I wake near a wood-path strewn with acorns,
faces like fairies in their tiny caps,
wanting to be trees. Child-like, I stuff them
in my pockets, roll them in my fingers
at the pond-side, pondering: why did it
take so long for me to lie quiet in
the forest, open wide under the stars,
to wander, gather thoughts, and gather seeds?
This vibrant oak, now fallen, sequestered
herself from publicity; lived and died,
composed, in elegant simplicity:
I’m glad for her words that grew roots in me.
As she “vanished into something better”,
may “the earth (take) her back so tenderly”.

Deux ex Mitochondria

He enters the cleanroom as if it were
a sacristy: purifies his hands, dons his
white vestment. The prescribed ritual
proceeds with calm precision; he tips
cruet to chalice in proper proportion,
unhurried, meticulous, serene.
I am an acolyte, an apostle, a witness
to transfiguration. You may wish for
a verification of miracles, a blood-drop
in a microscoped host, but here in this
sanctum, cryptic symbionts shine, alive,
gold against black as though the god-self
had exploded to shimmering smithereens
in the vast void; they fluoresce like shards
of immanence, like tiny holy ghosts.

I Will Let the Moon Surprise Me

I stand on the front step in my pajamas,
the dew-drenched garden a silhouette;
it is streetlight quiet. Like a Cheshire,
the thin slip of the moon grins at me,
as if to say: you could have known I’d show up
at dawn, eastern sky, seventeen degrees
above the trees, waning to new.
I’ll admit to my lack of an almanac,
and to nearly no moon-consciousness,
but here in the dill-scented damp
a train whistles before the birds do,
almost-silence seeps like medicine
into me and my ignorance is no
deficiency at all. I am in a different
school and wonder’s saved my seat.


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