Day of the Lord

You have this thing

that begins as a wave,

Hurried thing, it takes to task

the columns of unconvincing elation.


Ever present regardless of the wind

or the decisions of humane

individuals eager for motive,

and cause, and effect,

and things wrapped up

before the end comes

at warp speed.


Entangling nothing

but those set gazes,

those seriously powerful waves,

shoulders rolling fluid

like a final chorus cheer.



There is a syndrome called Poems

and another called Broken Heart.

I kid you not.


A friend of mine died from the first,

my son, almost from the second, and

being a mother and all of that,

I practically did myself,

die of a broken heart.


Stress cardiomyopathy, they call it,

those cardiologists who can speak the word

in full understanding and yet still be

ignorant of the fact that the heart is only

doing what it is meant to do.


Not break so much,

(that’s silly metaphor)

but swell.

The left ventricle, to be exact.

Have you ever had a swollen heart?


If it ruptures you die. 


Of course,

most hearts go back

after a little cry and catch in the voice

and resume the regular beat and dissertation of fume,

nothing to show for it,

except to be a little stronger

maybe, but who knows?


Some hearts are more susceptible,

more capable,

of this sort of thing.


Like the kid with the infectious smile,

hands anxious beneath the desk.

The radiant heat a shelter, the box of pencils anachronistic

before the backcloth of photo-stream and whir.


Katherine James

Katherine James has an MFA in fiction from Columbia University where she received the Felipe P. De Alba merit fellowship. She has studied at Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and has work published in the anthology, In the Arms of Words (Sherman Asher, 2005), St. Katherine Review, and other periodicals. Excerpts from her novel, Can You See Anything Now, which was a semi-finalist for the Doris Bakwin Prize, are forthcoming in the anthology, Between Midnight and Dawn, edited by Sarah Arthur (Paraclete Press). One of her short stories was recently chosen as a finalist for a Narrative Prize. Kate and her husband, Rick, have three grown children and are on staff with Cru, a ministry to college students. She blogs at
Katherine James

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