Category Archives: General

two prayers for the first day of school. 0

Tomorrow is the first day of school here. I am entering this year with a mixture of determination, terror, and hope. Let’s pray together. O Eternal God, bless all schools, colleges, and universities, that they may be lively centers for sound learning, new discovery, and the pursuit of wisdom; and grant that those who teach […]

what Atticus Finch taught me about watching the news. 1

Before I read To Kill a Mockingbird, I read a book that has been lost to history that quoted Atticus Finch: “You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.” I have always thought of that as Atticus Finch’s most famous quote, but it is not my […]

3.5 and 35 0

When Atticus was turning three, several people sidled up to me and said, “I don’t know whether to tell you this, but the terrible twos are nothing compared to the threes.” Wait, what?! I went out of my way to insist that the twos weren’t as bad as advertised and this is how the universe […]

set me as a seal upon your arm. 4

No sense in burying the lede: Mike and I went on our anniversary to get tattoos. Neither modern nor traditional lists name ink as a fourteenth anniversary gift, but maybe they should. Maybe it’s even a little bit Song of Solomon: Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, […]

a poem for father’s day. 1

From “Listening” by David Ignatow Standing beside you, I took an oath to make your life simpler by complicating mine and what I always thought would happen did: I was lifted up in joy.

on motherhood. 0

Yesterday I spent a good chunk of time weeding a bed in front of our house and placing bricks around the edge. Then we had a giant thunderstorm and it flooded. After the skies cleared, Atticus in all his wisdom decided to move all my carefully placed bricks into the mud and throw some of […]

two awkward conversations I had at the polling place. 2

(AKA why I can’t go places.) This one was my fault for stirring up trouble. POLL WORKER: Remember, in 2016 you will need your ID to vote. KARI: And how do you feel about that? POLL WORKER: I’m not allowed to say. I can’t talk about it. We’re not allowed to talk about it. But […]

every common bush afire. 2

From “Aurora Leigh” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning Earth’s crammed with heaven And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees, takes off his shoes, The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries

a blessing for wedding. 0

We are going to a wedding today! “A Blessing for Wedding” by Jane Hirschfield Today when persimmons ripen Today when fox-kits come out of their den into snow Today when the spotted egg releases its wren song Today when the maple sets down its red leaves Today when windows keep their promise to open Today […]

poem in your pocket day 2014. 1

A few weeks ago, when I wrote about her book, Carolyn Arends left a nice comment. After I picked myself up off the floor, I of course emailed her back. I tried not to fangirl all over the place but I may or may not have succeeded. But the best part was that she also […]

practice resurrection. 0

This poem is probably the reason I love poetry and try to make others love it too. This is all I want to say on Easter. “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” by Wendell Berry Love the quick profit, the annual raise, vacation with pay. Want more of everything ready-made. Be afraid to know your […]

descending theology: the crucifixion. 1

“Descending Theology: The Crucifixion” by Mary Karr To be crucified is first to lie down on a shaved tree, and then to have oafs stretch you out on a crossbar as if for flight, then thick spikes fix you into place. Once the cross pops up and the pole stob sinks vertically in an earth […]

the journey. 0

“The Journey” by Mary Oliver One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice — though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. “Mend my life!” each voice cried. But you didn’t stop. You […]

mission accomplished. 2

Hey, how are you? I’m good, thanks for asking. Well, yeah, I am a little sore because I ran a half marathon today. I would like to dedicate this running to Mike, who made it possible for me to do so much training, and to Beyonce, who gives me wings. Here are some words from […]

a toast by ilya kaminsky. 0

“A Toast” by Ilya Kaminsky To your voice, a mysterious virtue, to the 53 bones of one foot, the four dimensions of breathing, to pine, redwood, sworn-fern, peppermint, to hyacinth and bluebell lily, to the train conductor’s donkey on a rope, to smells of lemons, a boy pissing splendidly against the trees. Bless each thing […]

on the back porch (a poem every north carolinian should read). 0

Atticus and I went to the NC Literary Festival today. Mostly the boys played with trucks. And Legos. But we did go to a couple of sessions. In honor of the festival, let me point you in the direction of this article in Our State about 10 poems every North Carolinian should read (preferably out […]

old men playing basketball (a poem for the final four). 0

“Old Men Playing Basketball” by B. H. Fairchild The heavy bodies lunge, the broken language of fake and drive, glamorous jump shot slowed to a stutter. Their gestures, in love again with the pure geometry of curves, rise toward the ball, falter, and fall away. On the boards their hands and fingertips tremble in tense […]

into something good 0

“blessing the boats” by Lucille Clifton (at St. Mary’s) may the tide that is entering even now the lip of our understanding carry you out beyond the face of fear may you kiss the wind then turn from it certain that it will love your back may you open your eyes to water water waving […]

this world by mary oliver. 3

April is National Poetry Month. Get ready, y’all. I am posting a poem every day because it was so much fun last year. “This World” by Mary Oliver I would like to write a poem about the world that has in it nothing fancy. But it seems impossible. Whatever the subject, the morning sun glimmers […]

a love letter to giving. 0

When I was a kid, we didn’t have a lot of extra money for things like eating out or brand-new name-brand jeans (I had some but they came from the thrift store if you must know). My mom stayed at home when we were small and then went back to teaching (spoiler alert: teaching is […]