Little Town

(Because for some of us poetry is clearer, and because I was inspired by the student portfolios I spent the weekend grading.)

A view from a cracked window

It’s a little town.

Three hours is an epic journey

so no one leaves

because quests aren’t for everyone.

Sister and niece moved three villages over

So he’ll never see them now.

Why would she leave?


It’s a little town.

The creased valleys filled with villages

(ages ago)

collecting houses like rain in puddles

linked by fine capillary trails.


just on foot we go, visiting.

Why would we leave?


It’s a little town.

The Never-Leaving know each other

so the insurance agent knows

the window repairman who knows

my landlord.

So this triangle knows

that a candle under my attic window

cracked the glass one cold autumn night.

They can sit at the table for hours,

Learning to know better

The creases of smiles, the tones of loss or hope.

Why would they leave?


It’s a little town.

I weave through upturned logs on fire

heated magnets drawing people

to stretch out their fingers to the crackling

to wait for ersatz Santas

to bring them apples from a sack.

I’m just starting to know them,

standing in the doorway of home

snatching at bright notes of meaning

in this common chorus.

Belonging, I can hear its footsteps,

In another language enticing.

Why would I leave now?


It’s a little town.

I walk to supper at the neighbors,

—at the end of the day

at the end of the week

at the end of the term

at the end of the year—


I walk over old snow,

—more like the shriek of Styrofoam

than the stealth of cotton candy—

Push through the light-paned door.

Precise as cuckoos or doorbells,

The boys greet me

faces awake and eager,

just as I left them squirming and shouting

a few hours ago,

when they controlled my eyebrows’ ups and downs.

Tonight they wear ties and shirts and grins,

dressed to impress.

Sink deep into a chair.

And around the fire

we aren’t teacher and students

but guests, together in the little town.

Refugees from the cold

and the weary week,

thawing hearts and minds in a home,

not ours.

Let’s not talk about school.

That sounds perfect.

We should read poems.


Because of the fire.  It’s perfect.

I only know this one poem.

About the snow.  In the woods.

“Whose woods these are I think I know…”

Yeah, that one.

I love that one.


It’s a little town.

Leaving or staying,

Home for now.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Erika Poole says:

    Beautiful, Kristi.

  2. katie kilgore says:

    Kristi: I sang Silent Night in German in your honor at church today. Quietly to myself, of course, but thought of you while doing it.

    1. Kristi says:

      Oh, so lovely. Thanks, Kate!

  3. Myriam Grano says:

    Beautiful poetry, Kristi! What a way to incorporate the different events and experiences in Kandern and at BFA. Wow! So glad all 3 of you are staying on, too!

  4. Heather says:

    Wow, that’s beautiful! And indeed, Kandern is home for now. So glad to have you as a friend on the journey!

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