Why Mother Let Us Play There

My mother never should have let us play

in the deep woods that spun and twisted behind our house.

Sometimes we wandered for miles

during that time of year

when the grizzlies sauntered from hibernation

sleepily impatient with hunger;

too close to where we collected things–

their fetid slyness heavy and unseen behind the waking evergreens of spring.

Once, I dropped an armful of dead branches

upon hearing the winter-induced intoxication of

the Mountain Queen herself.

She shuffled and heaved the unsteadiness of her trunk forward;

an eager cub followed inoffensively in her prints.

My brother and I left our bodies behind

we ran so hard.

And then other times,

the woods were silent for years.

Even the elegance of a buck tiptoeing on snow-dampened leaves

did nothing to disturb the stillness.

We were often found crouched by the rotted wood of an old corral

investigating petrified prints of worms and shells when our sister came to find us.

My sister was always beautiful when she was coming to find us;

the flush in her cheeks and the tangled urgency to the red weaves of her hair

brought human life into the world our imaginings allowed us to belong.

FB Road


  1. Very beautiful Karen 🙂 You paint such wonderful pictures!

  2. […] of appearances, I adore the work of Little House in America. The photos AND the poems are stunning. The simplicity of her subjects yields profound observations […]

  3. I love the photo, but I especially love the imagery of the words themselves! Great job!

  4. Very much enjoyed the imagery

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