Karol Nielsen’s SHAKESPEARE’S GARDEN & other Poems

I sat on a bench, raw logs,
shaved clean almost
in Shakespeare’s Garden.
The magnolias were bursting,
and the cherries,
and Japanese plum.
A photographer
held his lens high to
the pink, white, and purple buds,
snapping, looking,
snapping. Across the
sky, the apartment towers
looked grand,
like church steeples,
graceful, gothic spires.
And I thought of you,
painting this scene,
like we used to do.
I wore a cowboy hat—
straw—and raw confidence,
as I walked past two men
who turned to look and said,
We’ll never see that girl again.
They turn in summer for
sun-kissed hair, buttery
flesh—exposed, carefree.
They look down, turn away,
after fall brings its dull cast,
and I wonder what is true?
I write a few lines
and feel the calm
of a practiced monk.
But too long away
I am the worst sort of

Karol Nielsen is the author of the memoirs Black Elephants (Bison Books, 2011) and Walking A&P (Mascot Books, 2018) and the chapbooks This Woman I Thought I’d Be (Finishing Line Press, 2012) and Vietnam Made Me Who I Am (Finishing Line Press, 2020). Her first memoir was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing in nonfiction in 2012. Excerpts were honored as notable essays in The Best American Essays in 2010 and 2005. Her full poetry collection was a finalist for the Colorado Prize for Poetry in 2007. Her work has appeared in Epiphany, Guernica, Lumina, North Dakota Quarterly, Permafrost, RiverSedge, and elsewhere. She has taught writing at New York University and New York Writers Workshop.
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com ; his publications include
All the Babble of the Souk , Cartoon Molecules, Next Arrivals and Moon Selected Audio Textual Poems, collected poems, as well as translation of Guadalupe Grande´s La llave de niebla, as Key of Mist and the recently published Tesserae , a translation of Carmen Crespo´s Teselas.
You may visit Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author. See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)