carol lynn grellas


Something clicked when her hand
turned the knob hard, like a wish
bone breaking in a bird’s breast

and she feared the sound of snapping,
or arriving at the fork in the road, the denial
of a merry thought and the opening from

outside in with the motion of a brass ball
moving further to the right, allowing light
inward through a keyhole’s eye to hers−

she delayed the last rotation, began
spinning the handle counterclockwise
then back over to the right for the mere

purpose of remaining suspended between
the threshold of in and out, until her wrist
was weary from indecision until she stood

stagnant on the verge of entrance, almost
broken like a starling without its little fork.

In the Emptying of Pockets

She finds three acorns saved from her mother’s
grave, moss-covered in the shape of her initials,
unfixed, until day they’re each engraved.

One lace handkerchief, folded like an origami wing
tattered and worn from every time she touched a kiss
as if a soiled cloth might speak, I must remember this−-

Water droplets rolled within a eucalyptus leaf
like kindling scorched from fire, the scent of faded
rain, not quite dissolved, like an unclaimed desire.

The broken quill from a long dead bird, point dulled
from wear, reminiscent of how she signed her name
to everything along the path, afraid she’d never get there.

The gentlest tears from her husband’s cheek, enough
to keep her glass half-full through years he said he never wept−-
found upon her pillow, oh so softly while he slept.

A thousand unused tickets mislaid through gaping holes
from fingers breaking thread, where eternity stores
each golden ring, beyond the earth and past the dead.

One photo of someone who used to be her, half-torn
with ragged edges, date marked memories she can’t
recall, from somewhere along the way; a forgotten day.

Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas is a six-time Pushcart nominee, Best of the Net nominee and a recent winner in the Red Ochre Press Chapbook competition for her manuscript Before I Go to Sleep. She has authored several chapbooks along with her latest full-length collection of poems, Epistemology of an Odd Girl, from March Street Press. Her work has appeared in a wide variety of online and print magazines including: Able Muse, The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, The Foliate Oak and many more. According to family lore she is a direct descendent of Robert Louis Stevenson.