Karen 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.
in L’ Esprit Literary Review April 2023
The dad is ice on the lake in the park. Says to his child and the mother of his child he’ll scout for thin spots, dark open water. He skates away. The hard grace of the hockey star he was. Strides stretched longer and longer by sudden fatherhood, a frozen relationship (still no ring), by a preemie. The cold-water walk-up where they’ve lived for eight years. At the end of the lake, he looks back.
Mom? Snow. A snowflake—never the same twice. So the father of her child hurries home after work, leaping the apartment stairs two at a time. May find her crying at a Christmas movie or in a blizzard of her own, doing white powder lines. Other days, there’s a flurry in the kitchen: mashed potatoes and vanilla cupcakes, the rusty old fridge defrosted.
The child is the skates. Thrift store scruffy, a size smaller than she should be. The leather more yellow than white.
But she’s one sharp little blade. Tempered steel, even temperamental this morning when the ice said, “No skating today, honey. Dad’s worked midnights all week.” The mom, shivering, said, “Too cold.”
They went. Warmer on a lake in December than in the apartment after a no.
A Hundred Different Kinds of Rain
in 100 word story June 2022
Lost rain wandering parking lots and highways in search of the earth. Down-on-its-luck rain watering plastic petunias on a twentieth-floor balcony. Angry rain condemned to storm sewers, denied rivers. Rebellious rain. Tried to rally ducks and frogs to rise up when their marsh was bulldozed for bungalows. Didn’t work. Tired rain.
Old neighbour rain. Fickle friend rain. Trickling deep to farmers who’ve become dirt, white finger bones point and skulls grumble, “Where were you, prayed-for rain?” Regretful rain, that corn withered, and cattle and children thirsted. Sorrowful, as if a downpour would help now.
Dying cemetery rain, mossy and misty-eyed.