My Grandmother’s Purse

I wrote a poem about a purse that I found among my grandmother’s things and brought it to accompany the poem at my thesis reading. That poem won third prize in the SWWIM Every Day poetry contest. The theme was “Poetry for Purses” in honor of Kate Spade and suicide prevention. I know that my grandmother would be proud that her purse inspired my writing, and that I have kept her purse.

Here’s the winning poem and her purse!


The Cable Car Purse


She rummaged through the cartons that

were stacked inside the family room,

unwrapping, sorting, tossing stuff

on messy piles of save or sell.

She found it with a crystal vase,

two sequined evening bags, and five

Saint Joseph statues underneath

the mildewed news from eighty-four,

the year they packed up Grandma’s things.


The wooden box’s hinges, latch,

and handle were of brass. It smelled

of musty basement and Guerlain

perfume. Faux jewels and beads were glued

onto the painted cable car––

a missing amber teardrop fixed

with a round blue replacement gem.


When she opened it, her puzzled

reflection looked back from inside

the mirrored lid. Her Grandma’s name

was printed in a shaky blue

along the edge; the purse empty,

except for two metal hair pins.


She saw a younger woman there,

the bag in hand at ample hips,

a trolley swaying over curves,

She heard the ringing bells, the voice

of someone clinging to a pole––

the fog, the fog. And nothing else.



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Enfin (Finally)

I took a hiatus from this blog when I decided to return to school for a second Master’s Degree. I commuted several times a week to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and earned a Master’s in Writing with a poetry concentration. It was a profound experience. I met other writers, all entrenched in other careers in order to pay the bills, but they all had a yearning to tell a story, write a sonnet, or finish a memoir that had been pushing them all along toward the craft of writing. My thesis group has stayed in touch, we cheer each new publication and encourage one and other to continue writing. Now that the diploma hangs on my wall, I have a responsibility to return to writing, despite that other career, and to find time to put words into verse,

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Bury The…. Poem PAD April 30th, 2015

Well, I made it! Thirty poems in thirty days! This is the third time that I’ve completed the challenge. I did not post all my poems here, but most of them are. I’ll be taking a break and catching up on my other work for the next few weeks.

This poem was poignant and appropriate to write at this time, when planting and preparing my garden for the season.

Bury The Roots

“Work the soil,” my dad said, stabbing

it with a shovel, “and then add compost.”

We stood together, our long shadows

crossing the hole, two-and-one-half

times the size of the root ball. The loamy

soil smelled of worms and fertilizer. I sniffed

a few clumps of dirt before breaking them

with my fingers and dropping them back

into the hole. We lugged the pear sapling

to the edge, wheeled it around, and pushed

it in, shoveling more dirt into the hole.

“Cover the roots,” he said, “or it will die.”

He gave me the hose and I watched the water

fill around the base of the tree, while he watched

me, his face backlit by the orange sun–––

our shadows tall, parallel silhouettes.

Years later, I would look into a rectangular

pit, smelling worms and freshly-dug soil.

There would be one shadow, no pear tree.

Kim King ©2015

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Nature Poem PAD April 22, 2015

The Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder

He fills the feeder

with black oil sunflower seeds,

nuts, thistle, and fruit,

because he likes birds

and how they share seed around

the winter table.

The finches and jays

roost with nuthatches to snack––

but squirrels climb up

the iron pole, hang

upside down, contort to steal

seed with teensy claws,

to munch their fill of

Papa’s special blend. He grabs

his gun and shoots once,

popping the squirrel

off the feeder, and again

nailing the other.

He eases back down

into his chair, cocks an ear,

and watches the birds.

Kim King©2015

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Looking Back Poem April 27, 2015

High School Seniors

In May, students look

To graduation, parties,

Work or college goals,

They no longer stress

About grades or homework, eyes

Stare outside windows,

Thoughts outside their heads–––

Balloons bouncing into trees,

Strings waving goodbye,

But teachers stretch out

Long arms to pull them back in,

Tethered until June.

Kim King©2015

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38 Words Invented by Shakespeare Poem April 26th, 2015



The gloomy green-eyed count is noiseless. Gnarled

hands work in lustrous moonbeams, hide the bumps

with beached whale blankets, frugal choices bought

on sale. Now dawn, the wind elbows the night

with gusts that rant at worthless windows. Next,

he puts the label on his luggage, leaves

the bedroom, hurries by a bloodstained fixture

where he hobnobbed last night half undressed

from zany party scuffles. Tired from puking,

drugged, excitement dwindling, caked with mud,

he passes sleeping mountaineers and flees––

a jaded bandit, into radiance,

arousing naked barefaced girls who blush.

Kim King©2015

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Historic Poem PAD April 23rd, 2015


A carillon is French for bells, the ones

that play in towers, clanging sounds of joie

from twenty-three or more cast metal copes

that founders shaped and tuned from hum to prime––

the pitch that’s heard when carillonneurs strike

the keys with half-closed fists and half-closed eyes

to hear concordant harmonies rise up

the belfry, exit over cobblestones

and swoop by slanted windows, open notes

that dart among the fuchsia, hover there

before they wing into our memory’s roost.

Kim King ©2015

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I Am Not Poem PAD April 21, 2015

I Am Not A Meteorologist

But, I can smell snow when leaden

clouds, heavy as pregnant sheep,

lumber over the ridges, baaing

its arrival. In summer, I can smell

rain when the maple leaves turn silver

and the heat, sprawled out over the

city, gets up with fists ready, but rain

pummels the piss out of it, brandishes

the title belt, and the cold front moves

in, sweeping broken branches

and scattered blossoms out of the ring.

I cannot predict the weather,

but neither can the meteorologist.

Kim King © 2015

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Authority Poem PAD April 19th 2015


As kids we tried to hurry up the months

until our birthday, Christmas, Halloween,

or summer. Rolling cars around a track,

we dreamt of driving, smoking, looping arms

with lovers, flying planes or drinking beers

like on TV. We grew and drove to work,

had dates, made plans, had kids, and bought a house

with shutters, flower beds and grass to mow.

We shopped and watched the soccer games, still quaffed

a cold one with our friends, but some had moved

or lost a limb while others lost their hair.

We grabbed our chins and cursed the glass that showed

us lines or creases. Parents died, we ached

for time–– just months or days, oh please! The clock

won’t stop, it drives us now, the pedal to the floor.

Kim King ©2015

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Science Poem PAD April 16, 2015

Reality Star

Lying on my back, the damp

grass tickled arms and legs

as my father pointed out

summer constellations. Draco

the Dragon, Andromeda,

Cassiopeia and Ursa Major

emerged from a black canvas

when he traced lines with his finger

between pricks of light. I studied

mythology, followed Orion in winter,

marveled at chartreuse aurora borealis

flames, the Perseids Meteor shower,

a comet, and the eclipse of the sun.

Astronomer, I planned, poking one eye

into a telescope at the moon’s craters,

until middle school math and science

courses broke the lens and sent me

back to earth to repair my career

optical illusion with refracting glue.

Kim King©2015

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