Karen Hurley Kuchar

Fall 2022

My Neighborhood, Wednesday 3PM, October 19th

Yellow leaves drift on a slight breeze
Trees in various stages of undress
Saffron maples, dusty brown oaks
The scarlet burning bush

Kids pile off the school bus
A mom greets the bus driver
Retired couple walks their golden retriever
Young man jogs in the street

A neighbor mows his lawn
Vacuums up the fallen leaves
His wife deadheads the russet mums
Helps him empty the clippings into a tall brown paper bag


A neighborhood a half-hour drive from here
Children rush into homes after school
Afraid to be out, walking, playing
Even than a stray bullet can find them in their own home

I heard of billionaires
Building luxury bunkers
To protect them when the social unrest
Erupts into rebellion
From the disparity
They help create

Fall Reflection

I walk in the woods
on one of the last green days
An owl hoots an eerie call

The weather today
waves the flag of change
from sun to cloud to sprinkles of rain

On the cusp of the season
I want to lean forward, and hold on
indecisive like the weather

At the edge of the woods
I see a new house being built
on the site of Jack and Nan’s

Nan’s memory left first
slowly as it does
then Nan

Jack followed a month later
As if he knew that holding on didn’t work
And leaning forward asked too much

Kids in ladybug and dinosaur helmets
Ride their scooters down the hill
And squeal with abandon
As if forward was their only choice


I will write
every day

Loosen my grip
on the pen

Let the words flow
from some deeper place

Warm water to melt
the blocks of ice in place

To divert the energy
to busyness, projects,
to-do lists and avoidance.

This present moment—

With its cancer shadow,
Distance from kids,
Quiet summer nights,
Softened plans,
Fogged in future—

brings its own gifts
if I open the floodgates

Writer’s Statement: Each poem was a moment of realization, brought on by nature or the setting, that this moment is the gift – not something in the future or something different than what is.

  • My Neighborhood. I walked my neighborhood on a perfect fall day, and was aware that in other neighborhoods things were not so peaceful.
  • Fall Reflection. It was that moment in the fall when the it was still part summer and fall was announcing its arrival.
  • Commitment. This was a moment when I realized, again, that all that is happening in this moment is what I am to take in, learn from, and grow.

Bio: Karen Hurley Kuchar is a poet and writing group facilitator who is fascinated by the way writing opens up her own and others deeper spirit.

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