Karen Biscopink

Attempt to Trace a Small Thing As It’s Turning

“If two objects are nearby in one direction, then a world separates them in the other: the ghost distance.” - Tony Tost, “Invisible Bride”


It is some day near summer and I am concentrating on being old. The porch swing is a metaphor for a bookstore; the puddle at the bottom of my ice cream mountain is, too. Once I collected browned leaves from the labyrinth, too scared to set them on fire. But in this age I have both kerosene and flame, liquid ignition the best story I’ve learned to tell.


Angry Daddy at the circus. It springs up once a year, down by the tracks rusting around a station house. He hates the colored scarves with their chain-linked embarrassment. My tiny eyes and I, we watch the parade of bras - will hide the lingerie catalogues later to relive this.

Sister keeps the brown scarf, will touch herself with it later. Buy her books and buy her books but all she does is


Loneliness is a hungry machine & she cooks. Her crooked seams have held my attention: Who is it that

I remind you of? Say, “Oh my stars,” and it’s your dead mother’s mother.
Wake up and the way you watch my nose as if it’s your own. The one you’ve always told me was so hateful.

I don’t have an eye for color, can’t feel the selvedge edges intersect before unbolted. The log cabin has a basement and in it she is listening.


Since I left that house in June, I am both the girl who drowned and the girl who did not. What are the ways in which these women intersect?

             overflowing bathtub, insomnia-
             flavored fingertips,
             blanket at the end of the bed
                                                          all stained with wine

Equations like this are the way a drowned girl fills her days, still begging for salvation with a barricaded throat.


Later in life, liking foods formerly hated. All of her is handwriting - some days tight and August, others as if etched into the hard surface of day. She was shocked to learn she could crochet, having reduced her sense of self to include only haphazard. Cooked spinach alphabet approached as a long chain or divining rod; pointer finger that sends things like her, all big, in one direction.

Author Portrait

Karen Biscopink lives in San Francisco, CA. She has an MFA in Writing from the University of San Francisco with a concentration in poetry. In addition to being the office manager of a local tech startup, Karen is the managing poetry editor of the up-and-coming journal Your Impossible Voice, the associate editor of both Apogee Press and Litseen.com, and she contributes reviews and columns to various publications. She is a violinist, a freelance professional actress, and an avid reader and crafter.