Kelly Cockerham

Louise C. Fenne, Possessor-3
Louise C. Fenn


Don’t use those words—
some letters stain.
Prick of that note—just now—
on new leaves
draws blood.
I know how tunes unravel
over time. Even the most
are woven into your nest
with my discarded hair.

What is it about dishes that break me,
hands sunk wrist deep in soapy water?
The needle of your beak
pops one note and
the window over the sink fractures
into rifts that run past freckles.

I see your tree.

Bird, do you know
what you are doing
with your white stripes,
waving this old message
like a flag?

Louise C. Fenne, Looking-South-


Story Problem

every day
there are a finite
number of words
and I already gave
to the grocer,
scattered them to the birds
in sunflower shells,
tossed them in the wash
and set to rinse–

how will the poem speak?

In a voice, perhaps,
asking for dinner,
May I watch TV?
In my father’s voice—
Do you hear me, girl,
I am calling—
in the chatter of water
from the pipes above,
dripping in giggles.

You are not funny, plumber,
showing sometime
between 10 and 6.
Words wait
for your footsteps
clicking bricks
back to your faded van

or they don’t.
I am not
their keeper. Only

a pretend net,
swatting at their wings,
following their buzz
through my busy days,
one ear listening,
one ear trying to keep up.

Louise C. Fenne, Christine-with-Lovebird-no.-2


In Snow (My Birth)

For three days, we carved
a space inside
18 inches of snow.
Highways slick with ice,
unplowed streets,

warm in glow of reading lamp
bolted to a metal frame,
the two of us perched
atop white sheets,
wrinkled blankets, snug as a nest.
I like to think your face, smudged
as Monet to my infant eyes,
still hovered in the center of my world,
thin stem of you holding
us both to earth.

For three days, there was
the round igloo of your attention
holding snow back from plows,
crib sheets cold
a few more hours.
There may have been someone else
but I erase them–rubber end
pushing through this paper–
and save us,

here at my table, surrounded
by papers and breakfast dishes,
from 38 years of what went wrong.

We had three days in snow
before the world blew
its warm breath in our faces,
before the teeth of our old kitchen shears
gnawed through the plastic
of the place before
that held just two,
and home became a place
outside of you.

Louise C. Fenne, Augury-4, 600



            Perhaps the clouds
are good for something,
bumping elbows overhead,
though I can’t know what,
on my couch, counting thunder.
            Already, the blanket
is not warm enough,
the fire not bright enough,
the pantry sparse.

Everything old hurts new today
and I don’t know if it is me
or autumn
swelling in my son’s eyes.

What awful gifts we give our children.
I never meant this bolting,
days shortened so suddenly
his open hands grasp at sun.
Outside the swing set abandoned.
He and I lit to stillness
             in our separate rooms.

I am sorry–for the clouds,
the couch, my sorrows
stair-stepping their way to you
through a few wrecked genes–
for this rainy day that sent
our curtains reeling to close.
I never knew the boom
my love would make in you.

Kelly Cockerham author photoKelly Cockerham felt the soft tug of words at an early age and has followed their trail ever since. A graduate of the Bennington Writing Seminars in Vermont, her poems have appeared in Leveler, Palooka, Soundzine, IthacaLit, and Pebble Lake Review, among others. She currently lives in Maryland with her husband and two children and is at work on what might one day be a novel.

Kelly Cockerham at IthacaLit

Kelly Cockerham at r.kv.r.y. quarterly literary journal

Kelly Cockerham at Leveler

Kelly Cockerham at Soundzine

Kelly Cockerham at Pebble Lake Review

Kelly Cockerham at Dear Teen Me


One response to “Kelly Cockerham”

  1. Maureen says:

    Wonderful poems.

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