Green Hills Literary Lantern

Garden of Shadows



If the moon had not been full

as I pulled the car into the driveway

I might not have seen the shadow brush the lilacs

between the maple and the rose of Sharon.


If I had failed to remember the tube of seeds

broken and dragged from the bird feeder only a week ago,

I might have mistaken the bear for a dog gone silly,

standing on its hind feet now, slightly swaying.


If the dark uprising in my body had left me

a little hungrier for substance, I might have assumed

the bear’s caution to be shyness, not stealth.

I might not have locked myself inside the car.


I might have been curious instead,

stepped out, stood still, seen if the shine of its eyes

was emerald or gold in the light of the moon,

and if they tendered a language


in which we might speak

of the wild blue berry of desire

and the garden where each of us stood

and the summer that was passing.



Kathleen M. Kelly’s 2010 chapbook, The Waiting Room, received the Philbrick Poetry Award, judged by Marge Piercy.  In 2008 she received the Anderbo Poetry prize.  Her work has appeared in The Sun, Earth’s Daughters, Peregrine, Perigee, The Green Fuse, Evergreen Chronicles, The 2012 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine Anthology, and Mediphores.  Poems have also been anthologized in Women’s Encounters with the Mental Health Establishment and The Patient Who Changed my Life. As a social worker (now retired), Kelley published professionally and facilitated a writing group for women dealing with cancer.  Many years ago she taught English to middle schoolers, Women’s Literature to adults, and composition to community college freshmen.