Karma by Felicia Mitchell


“Karma” by Felicia Mitchell


Saving the sparrow
whose small self
is wound by wire
may not save the cat
half eaten by coyote.
It may not save even me
from myself, sorrow coiled
around my heart
like a copperhead.
I love my cat.
I love the coyote
that tried to eat the cat.
But I am sad about the cat,
as sad as a woman crying.
I know it is what it is,
this snake that will strike
or not strike,
on any given day,
no matter what I do.
The coyote already came.
The cat may go.
It is what it is, I repeat,
mantra tenacious as mantis,
my breath paired with sorrow
as good as a set of bellows
fanning embers
in a cold hearth.


Credit: Artemis (Virginia), 2015



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Felicia Mitchell Artist Statement: This is an introspective poem that reflects on a relationship with nature made stronger through my experience with cancer; tattoos are not uncommon for women with breast cancer. This poem is sort of a manifesto about why I did not get one.

Felicia Mitchell, with roots in the low country of South Carolina, has made southwestern
Virginia her home since 1987. Her poems have appeared in range of anthologies and journals
over the years, including Magnolia. A Journal of Women’s Socially Engaged Literature and
Hospital Drive. Waltzing with Horses was published by Press 53 in 2014. Two chapbooks
appeared earlier: The Cleft of the Rock (Finishing Line Press, 2009) and Earthenware Fertility
Figure (Talent House Press, 1999). She has published scholarly work on writing and poetry,
including the edited critical anthology Her Words. Diverse Voices in Contemporary Appalachian
Women’s Poetry (University of Tennessee Press, 2002). She teaches English at Emory & Henry
College. Website: www.feliciamitchell.net

Author: A Room of Her Own

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