Tag Archives: Kathleen Hellen

memento mori
by Kathleen Hellen

oblivion, the cruelest place to be — line adapted from Gregory Orr

in this museum of the catastrophic, this
gallery of specimens…

I pet the filaments of beard, smooth his
eyebrows, ask the floor nurse who calls him by his name

for ruff, for part that won’t decay after his passing. That
top-knot of his sable thinned—that
fineness table-

worked, rebearing like a broken barge this irreconcilable direction.

I’d thought that I could bring him back from narrow passages
lit with jack-o-lanterns, back to find under the porchlight
the dinosaur I’d ordered

from a catalogue…a talisman
against the guise of death he fiercely masked.
I’d stitched by hand

the cape, the cap that mummed the horny plates. The pattern
that had failed him,
despite the fierce expression.

No species of maternal can protect
the hatchling from the ash, the sandstorm of the organs

…the nest an artifact, the egg like hardened loaf inside the empty
center—the jeopardy of the body


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 21, Issue 3.

Kathleen HellenKathleen Hellen is the author of The Only Country was the Color of My Skin, the award-winning collection Umberto’s Night, and two chapbooks, The Girl Who Loved Mothra and Pentimento. Hellen has won the Thomas Merton poetry prize and prizes from the H.O.W. Journal and Washington Square Review, as well as awards from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts.

See all items about Kathleen Hellen

Visit Kathleen Hellen’s contributors page.

CPR Journal Volume 15, Issue 2 Now Online

Cider Press Review Volume 15, Issue 2Cider Press Review’s April 2013 web issue, Volume 15, Issue 2, is now online.

Read new work by Sandra Kohler, Lois Marie Harrod, Jeanpaul Ferro, David Filer, Lorraine Doran, Rebecca Aronson, Doris Matthews, Brenda Yates, Diane Scholl, Sharon Chmielarz, Joseph Dorazio, Rachel Rostad, Christine Butterworth McDermott, Barbara Mossberg, Shawn Fawson, Susana Lang, John Davis, Susan Grimm, Grant Clauser, Kathleen Hellen, John Sibley Williams, and Jane Rosenberg LaForge.

Read the issue online today; download a Kindle version from Amazon in May.

Furin (Wind Chimes)
by Kathleen Hellen

The winds are ceaseless striking. The tenor
of a likeness. The quarrel
of the metal on the door mount

You must learn to be bamboo, she once had said
when I was still in high school, as if
she knew I couldn’t bend

unlike my sister
whose pregnancy at sixteen
broke the silence of our sex

unlike my brother. Even then
always easy on himself

How memory works forward— I had sent them
for her birthday, on the same day
she had bought them for herself

A thousand miles away
A single impulse

Bamboo chimes talking
after years of no-wind trying
The iron of the plates

Bamboo chimes knocking
as of someone at the gate


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 15, Issue 2.

Kathleen Hellen is a poet and the author of Umberto’s Night (Washington Writers Publishing House, 2012) and The Girl Who Loved Mothra (Finishing Line Press, 2010). Her poems are widely published and have appeared in Barrow Street; Prairie Schooner; Subtropics; Witness; among others; and were featured on WYPR’s The Signal.

See all items about Kathleen Hellen

Visit Kathleen Hellen’s contributors page.