Untying the Knot. Karen Paul Holmes. Aldrich Press, 2014.
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Karen Paul Holmes is the author of Untying the Knot. She founded and hosts the Side Door Poets in Atlanta and Writers’ Night Out in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She received an Elizabeth George Foundation emerging writer grant in 2012, and her publishing credits include Poetry East, Atlanta Review, and Flycatcher. Formerly the VP of Communications at a global financial services company, she is now a freelance business writer, poet, and “roving” writing teacher whose venues include the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina.
Untying the Knot tells the story of the sudden loss of a long-term marriage and the eventual healing that takes place. The poems are written with “grace, humor, self-awareness, and without a dollop of self-pity,” according to Poet Thomas Lux.
On its surface, Untying the Knot is about severance—about leaving the beloved behind and, likewise, getting left—but it is also a meditation on the sources of love and language. … Holmes’s voice pushes readers forward into the unknown with confidence, precision, and empathy. (Dorianne Laux)
Has He Landed Safely?
I worry that the outstretched legs on the hart are bent the wrong way
as he throws himself off.
—from "Stag’s Leap," Sharon Olds
Not at all a graceful takeoff
his leap threw him into the wild blue
ambiguity of an affair.
I now know he had to do it:
had to explore, sail off the edge
of the world.
I now know he had one limb out
of our marriage for years.
Kept trying to balance
his accounts—in his mind
he and I did not equal happiness
even though I was the wife he wanted
to show. Smart,
pretty enough, a good mother.
He loved me as much as he could
but I did not fill his coffers.
For two years he resisted the lure
of her but it persisted,
a bee in his palm,
until he couldn’t hold it any longer.
He was barely more than fawn
in the ways of betrayal, antlers
uncalcified. Yet he craved
the danger, needed it
like heroin to addle his pain.
He had to leap, to deny the gravity
of his action. To land, gashed
in another galaxy.
Does he speak the language?
Can he breathe?
More Poems by Karen Paul Holmes:
As It Ought to Be
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