Carol Park


Part I – The Days Before

The morning comes the same—
ten steps to toilet in usual dim,
calm in my walls until today’s news
spears my watery side.

I want no long lines
at perilous polls.
I want all ballots of all
persons of color
counted in peace.
No monster pickups please—
they trap a bus charged only
with candidates’ names posted
upon it and those flaunters of law
debase that wrong name
of “Patriots.”

My hope turns furtive, slight
and fleeing, hid
among far tombs.

Part II – Election Day

On the portentous day, we ripped off
hard covers and glued soft ones on
Bibles to go Inside, to go
within locked walls where inmates—
caught in a cycle, systems of abuse—
can’t leave, can’t see dear ones,
can’t visit a doctor of body or mind
when fever rages, fears prevail.

Black lines and curves on pages,
I pray spirit-life infuses you, goes
through you to persons locked up,
ushers them to tranquility
transcending walls.



When I allow the hearing
of that larger voice,
(not that old and guttural hiss)
when I listen,
really listen
to the spacious voice,
my subterranean soul knows
Love. I – yes me –
feel loved, receive
power for the winding
climb of the giant tree
where life intertwines delight.

I’m proffered a staircase,
a way to spiral up
around the silver trunk,
past gnarls, lines and furrows,
even a hollow holding
the ash of loss.

I ascend to branches birthing
finch, crow and sparrow alike.
They open small and deadly beaks,
and songs and caws burst out
their melodies floating and
obscured among the leaves,
pliant circles with ridged edges—

I touch them, sharp yet tender, and
amid their green I climb, circle
songs of love and largess,
basking in delight.


     Thanksgiving 2020

Thanks for the kind of mind that sees
a problem and seldom shies away
but tries and finds the reason
for the breakdown of our aged
microwave—that’s not the gist of why
I joined him, but certainly a bonus.

Thanks for how our feet walk on
within pandemic’s bleakness. For steps
of daughters, spouses and their children,
their bold paces growing longer.

Thanks for arms and palms around me,
God in human bodies—coming
within one backyard to tell
of sorrow, doubt, worry, mirth.

Thanks for how my feet take me out—
though toes curl and blisters pang—
I delight in needle clusters on tall pines
that hang, reach and clap their praise.

Thanks that somehow you divine
—above, below—wash out
the curdled, churning anger,
old and new. Thanks that though confined
to our couch, holding unblessed
bread and wine during digital worship
still we take in love, still
guilt dislodges. Still
Spirit sweet reunites
us to ourselves.

0-20CAROL PARK grew up in Redwood City, and though her specific jobs have ranged, they’ve always included words, teaching and nurturing of people. Six of her adult life took place in Japan where she mothered two young children, taught ESL, and learned much from Japanese friends. After the kids grew up, she earned her Masters in Creative Writing from Seattle Pacific and devoted time to fiction and poetry. Find her poems in SLANT, Minerva Rising, Black Fox Literary Review, and several anthologies. She’s currently finishing a novel set in Tokyo. Read her fiction at

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