Poems by Laura Wolfe 2017

Laura WolfeLAURA J. WOLFE is an Illinois writer, artist, and counselor. Both her writing and art are sacred spaces where she encounters God, faith, hope and the courage to journey on. She believes in the power of “showing up.” Laura’s work has been published in Tiferet Journal, 30 Poems in 30 Days: Writing Prompts and Poems from Tiferet Journal, Year of the Poet II – October 2015, When Women Waken and Talking Writing.

Her artwork and poetry may found at http://www.laurajwolfe.com. If you’re interested in working with Laura, you’ll find more information at http://www.laurajwolfecounseling.com.

El Corazón

Spanish class—6th grade
Señora Zimmerman stands short in stature, with pepper
colored hair, broad nose. Her mestizo Peruvian accent opens puertas
with words. She speaks about El Corazón
an NPO. “They build houses in a day, like Habitat for Humanity,
for families in Mexico,” she sings.
My heart somersaults with “¡sí!” inside my chest
when two cultures give life
blood–lines pump together offer
foundations, stirred with sweat. Cement
blocks stacked high, layered
with mortar. Backs straighten and bend
elbows and knees hold hope
enough for two countries separated
by borders. House walls
now erected on soil to protect innocent
witnesses of injustice caught between political agendas. A roof is placed over
heads, hearts, spirits, bodies—a doorway
constructed as Bienvenidos—
is painted anew
upon a place called home.

every soul
a womb—
some birth
others death.


Fall Photo

Leaves soaked by October rains
under our feet
the smell of earth’s decay
pumpkin gourds
become treasure troves
for small creatures
gathering sustenance for winter.
You stand like a mighty oak, grounded
with a smile, cheeks full like the sun
nature converses behind you
rain, wind, tree limbs speckled
oranges, yellows and reds
on display for a
passerby to comment,
“you should be in the photo
too.” I smile, phone in hand
continuing to snap pictures of you,
my favorite subject.


Tears still spill
over when I see
your photo. The one
where your hair is painted
brown, your blouse is the color
of cream, your cheeks smooth
with a tint of rouge, your lips
comfortable like earth after a shower.
Your shoulders still relaxed after carrying
your mother’s behaviors on your back like
a pack mule—all for the price of a single family house
in the suburbs of Chicago.

Nature’s Song

Geese shadows honk
robins hover
seeds pulse
under rumble claps
sway wave branches,
leaves—bow, bend,
flutter, frolic
ushering in
a rain

Grounded 2

calm rivers shoulder
skipping pebbles ricochet
off still surfaces.


November geese take flight
over tight December skies
new January horizons

February frosts glaze
over opaque March windows
new April blooms

May moons burst
over June crickets song
new July independence

August campfires spark
over sheared September harvests
new October constellations
burn bright.

Fast Food Drama

on lip
no need to leave
a five dollar tip.

bubbles arise
on cheek
no need to leave
a girl so bleak.

a Happy Meal prize
with hand
on hip
no need to leave
in such a “blip.”

at drive-bys
on feet
no need to leave
a girl so sweet.

Sweet Tarts

kiwis, berries lay
cloistered over custard, shells
made by nuns–Divine.

my feet touch
i am rooted
as a forest of trees
surrounded by
a thousand blades of grass.

— grounded

Confined Faith, Spills Hope

Caged chaos clutters
closets, cupboards, casas—creeps beneath
crayon caked carpets crawls into
cellars—carved containers
contaminated by
crepuscular culling.

Faith falters



split light fades


a flame flares

Hope hovers


to loose lamentations
off backs too small to sustain
atramentous skeletons buried in
mishandled dwellings.

all of a sudden—sweet songs spill
from sparrows’ beaks—leaving
seeds upon burnt soil. Saturating
souls searching for a deeper


Peacockish peonies perch
pine painted pale pickets


grasses, gladiolas, geraniums
grandmotherly gifts given
gingerly gathered.


Feet plant on path to
joy. Wind whooshes, mingles
with birds’ breathe songs—deep. Water ripples,
leaves, branches, sway with music
only nature is capable of singing. The breeze
tickles hair back from my face
feeling a hint of fall in its touch. I listen
to crickets converse,
themselves unseen yet present.

follow a cadence where it moves
today I am a bohemian gypsy. Free from expectations
I dance clear of agendas, technology
silence. I am off the grid—an elected
quiet day. Scheduled in my calendar,
rhythm I choose—respect for seasons’
wisdom—leave the ground fallow—rest
for a time.

Shadows bounce
between light—I skip as a child
circling back to the path
“Joy.” I have heard
what has been spoken without words

Destructive Communication

Between contempt and defensive—you sit. Frantic

quiet stirs as “you shoulds” fly overhead

like arrows. Their whirring sound

mesmerizes for a moment. Impact

Painful. A tear

escapes. Defeat


Tasted and Heard

Red lentils heaped high over
Basmati—grown in foothills
of Himilayas—rice is
scarce without water.


Snow white bud, you
bloom—wind carries your
blossoms—blanket the earth with
white petals—scatter, mix
with terra firma–colors of cranberries
and ambrosia. The queen wicked—
a proverbial temptress, disguises herself as
an old woman baits you—perhaps
a hibernation of a soul. I do not know.
Why it requires seven dwarves
to attend to? Or, a handsome prince
to kiss your slumber away? Were you unable
to awaken your destiny
as a tempest rose against
your trunk?
The End Folks…
Attempts to poison
roots of rebirth were


If wind did not exist
How would leaves converse
with air in our ears? Would light be rippled
across summer lakes? Would a breeze
blow gently across a face? Would waves
lap against the bow of a kayak? Would we
paddle with no restraint?

If wind did not exist
How would leaves dance
with air to the ground? Would one smell, for miles,
hot wood burn to ash? Would a star shine as
brightly if clouds were unable to speak
with wind and negotiate how to move
on to another space?

If wind did not exist
How would one learn the difference
between self-propulsion and being
swept off one’s feet, the experience of existing
in the center—then moved by something larger
than ourselves.


With buoyant light she descends
swaddled in roseate fleece.
Her essence infuses me
with childlike delight.

Felled Tree

Let go of that which no longer serves
you. Saws buzz in the background slicing
bark, trunks, branches. Earth’s journey begins with
a seed–roots. Booms rip through ground as
limbs fall. By my side—limp, defeated, flailing
faith paradigms, deepen wide–opening
terra firma shifts—splits me into
wood chips, logs piled atop wet leaves
decay—awaits flames to lick, burn away
dross of what is no longer

Cold front

Her hands painted cold
brush strokes dense with midnight
blew like snow squalls, wind-
chills below zero. Her blood,
oxygen once sustained
me, my life—warm

I, unprepared for artic
blasts created by words, emotionless—
frozen—I stood
in wait
I listen for the approach—
prediction another soul extinguishing
blizzard—on its way.

My parka, mittens, hat and scarf—do little
to protect my heart, mind,
spirit experiences
of daily frostbite.

I fight
I flight
I freeze


all of a sudden—

My hands move paint–warm
brush strokes dense with cyan, electric, celeste,
light blue rhythms rush over my heart,
mind, spirit—ebbs, flows, swells as
ocean like waves usher in an
artic thaw.

The Good Life

atop a bed
of dirt—feathers flap, fluff
feet scratch, throats cluck, worms wiggle ‘tween
closed beaks.

Nocturnes and Rhapsodies

My lids heavy with remembrances—
pale chiffon drifts over open windows as
night rises. Chanel No. 5 encircles
the air of knowing rhythms of shadows, as
freedom. You deposit yourself in the
flat and minor keys. Engulfed in
tragedies of recurrence and senza tempo, reflective
of ascensions and descents.

I, overshadowed by your darkness, frantic
my fingertips press into major keys—attempt
to play notes of comprehension. Thinking
to avoid your flats and minors, I transform into a rhapsody—
free flowing moods, vibrant colors and tones—my stanza of
light, integrates high and low pitches—an unexpected
an out song.


A multitude of her buds lay
strewn on the deck
boards. Hollow, brittle like discarded
peanut shells, brushed aside
by a sweep of a hand, a crush
of a boot amongst brambles.

She would not bloom
this Spring, due to unexpected delays
of cold—when what she received was
unpredictable heat. Her branches bare against
April shafts of light—dancing
in wind gusts up to 60 mph. She sways
naked in celebration of today, without
comparison of seasons past nor

I Am Yours, You Are Mine

We arrive with open
arms embrace bodies,
women and children strewn
like rag dolls across a school gym
floor. A natural disaster—some name
it—others with questions about
Why now? Why them? How
does one reconstruct a life
with shards of glass, wood
splinters and torn memories?

Out of a corner
my eyes see a child, slowly
rise, reach her hand out
towards me, her eyes search
for words she struggles
to form. “Help please. I need
something to drink. I am
thirsty,” she whispers. My heart
like a helicopter whirl—spins
landing beside her as I reach out
to take her hand. The only thing
I can do—to make sense
out of chaos.


Shame scored—upon my

body—effaced to receive


A Coffee Table and My Love

On the left, a bowl—blue

filled with small curds—white

several slices of pear—yellow

an envelope and card with roses—pink

Simon Leach’s Pottery Handbook—umber

photo of my favorite 6-year old—green

teak coasters from my grandmother—cocoa

a ceramic lamp—eggshell


Blue—his eyes a deep lake, on the right

White—wisps of hair curl on his chest

Yellow—gold surrounds left ring finger

Pink—apples of his cheeks when he smiles

Umber—earthiness of his soul in Autumn

Green—his presence, Springtime in Winter

Cocoa—deep, smooth sound of his voice

Eggshell—his bare feet in Summer

An Artist

“Why shouldn’t art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant

things in the world.” –Renoir


Her life was brush strokes

from a thousand paintings—a Moulin Rouge and a cabaret

stippled in black—she had hopes

eradication by pointillism—she dreamt of

A Sunday Afternoon in the Park—not a picture of impressionism

where Mother and Child portrayed an attachment—yet much safer

compared to its counterpart of Interior, also known as The Rape.


She longed for Renoir’s soft brushed oils against her cheek,

to blur tears on The Starry Night where she often slept

beside her mother and sisters—a fight between the David(s) and Goliath(s).

Was there hope for The Return of the Prodigal Son or daughter?


She did not know.


Shadows seemed to overcome light, as The Storm on

the Sea of Galilee raged inside her.


The Prince of Peace, from the Painter of Light, calmed the tempest with Blessings

of Spring, A Garden of Grace.

The Magnolia Tree

Small fuzzy buds perch–
upon bare branches—attach
to round limbs–wait
with intention for a season
to open,
spread out
their essence—
a right time for birth and
another for death.

My grandmother was wise,
an old soul—some would say
unusual with her mostly reserved
bohemian flair. Burnt oranges, asparagus greens,
golden browns bloomed in her
home. Alongside a wooden screen—hand-carved
from Africa, her own oil paintings of elephants,
the ruins of Machu Picchu, a smoke
piping elderly woman and a gypsy—
her hair covered in a flowered scarf—
the color of magnolias. A mixture of alabaster white,
eggshell, mulberry and periwinkle.

My grandmother’s cheeks and hands were
soft like the petals of a magnolia
flowering. Her blossoms, although past—
continue to offer me fragrance in the midst
of my own seasons of wait,
open out—


wrought iron—
a front gate (which was actually a side gate)
a back gate
both frequently left open

Spring 1973
I was seven
my mother just home
from the A & P—“There’s a boy
waiting outside for you.”

I peer
out the kitchen window—a tree
blocks my view. My mother
chimes, “go on now,
mind your manners.” I skip
down the sidewalk along-
side bluebells and bleeding hearts
hang full, low to the ground.

I see
the boy pressed against the gate
his bike straddled
hand—waiting for me.

I approach
“I’m going to bust
your knees with my bat!” He proclaims.

I step towards the heavy,
wrought iron
gate—close the hinge
wrap it with a chain
walk away. Ignoring
my mother’s voice pushing towards me,
“Go on back out
there. That’s how boys
show girls they like them.”

LightNo matter where in Asia,
Australia, Antarctica, Africa,
Europe, North America or South—young or old,
middle aged—living or dying—or somewhere in between,
morning flows over countries, cities and towns of people—slowly
speaking a language without words–all of a sudden—Light spills,
splashes, sweeps atop hands held–together, bare feet press
on dust roads, alone and
with others, cheeks bathe in tears, wrinkly foreheads
of babies–eyelashes flutter, lids open
a new day—What is possible
in this space where Light disperses