As if . by Kathleen Cain

– for Kelly Madigan


Some mornings I wake

as if I belong to no one:

no person, no family or country

of origin, no borders of heart or hearth


and so I know the day

will mark some crossing.

Some mystery, however ordinary

in the extraordinary round


will be revealed: the passing

of the Gemenid meteor shower

overhead, for instance.


Or a woman may come up

to me out of the blue in

the Goodwill and ask if

I can recommend a book

for her son, just out of

detox. And I will. I’ll know

exactly the book to recommend.


She’ll ask, as if

we are not strangers

and I’ll belong again.


Kathleen Cain is a native Nebraskan who has lived in Colorado since 1972. Her nonfiction book The Cottonwood Tree: An American Champion (2007) was selected for the Nebraska 150 Books Project. Two of her poems appeared in Nebraska Poetry: A Sesquicentennial Anthology, 1867-2017.

Guest Editor Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.


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