Karen Walker


Karen Walker, profile picKaren is a long-time resident of Cobourg. She began writing short fiction, creative nonfiction, and prose poetry in 2019. Her stories have won or been short-listed in competitions, and appear in more than forty international print and digital literary journals and anthologies. Karen can be found with her family or in the garden.

Too, Only, Only

in Emerge Literary Journal

Too big the bed now that I’m alone. Too much kitchen. Mr. Can Opener and I live in a drawer. Too mountain the stairs, my garden a jungle. Walls of not-too-like-them-anymore photos of baby grandkids, now ten.

Only, my daughter onlys: if her place was bigger, the care home nicer, if my bungalow had sold for more and paid for deluxe.

Only bring what’ll fit in the wardrobe, in the chipped bureau the home provides. A sweater, slippers, mostly housecoats. Never too many of those, if only for day and night in the room’s lumpy chair, coffin bed



in Five Minute Lit

Minute one: I tell Phil he’ll be free. No more vomiting, pain, or bitter pills. That he’ll run fast again. That there’ll be lots of squirrels and sunshine forever. Minute two: I tell him I love him, filling sixty seconds with our nine years. Three: Force a smile and laugh about puppyhood. How he chewed new carpet, once pooped on the bed. Whaaat? I sob through minute four, tracing the black stripes in his grey fur. Five: Kiss Phil’s long nose, hug him, then nod to the vet. I watch his chest rise and fall, rise and fall. Rise. Fall.


Water Garden in The Hamptons

in Unstamatic

A bronzed trophy wife on a pedestal—her smile weathered verdigris—spits tea into pink and yellow china bobbing on the water. Finger sandwiches float on lily pads: watercress for the turtle (her husband’s law partner), smoked salmon for the picky heron heiress. Salamander debutantes impress with shine and tiny appetites. Someone’s raccoon uncle washes his lecherous hands. Frogs—green bachelors vain about their shapely legs—breaststroke. Goldfish brats wrestle over macarons, madeleines circulating on silver bubbles as social media damselflies in sheer sundresses, fussing about the splash and the insult to the hostess, tweet to the great unwashed.

Selected Publications