Kaaren Kitchell – The black coat

Kitchell LE P&W July 2023

Download PDF Here
Live Encounters Poetry & Writing July 2023

The black coat, poems by Kaaren Kitchell.

The black coat

You thought they were out to get you.
You begged me to stay the night.
The nurses brought in a cot,
unfolded it beside the bed
where you were attached to machines.

I lay curled beside you like a snail in slow time
until I saw you needed space to sleep.
From the cot I watched the nurses
come in and out all night long,
take their meticulous measurements,
adjust your medicine,
swift, delicate, sure.

In the morning you said you’d seen
the black coat hung on the wall,
and felt pity for its owner,
a soldier killed in war.
You sorrowed for his widow.

But no, darling, I said,
that is my coat hanging there.

Bastille day, July 14, 2017

The red white and blue ripples atop the Tour d’Argent
one day each year. He and I walk the length
of Boulevard Saint-Germain to the Pont Alexandre III,

stop beneath the winged gold horse,
all around us, the scent of wine on breath,
the babble of tongues, shouts of the young

gathered to watch the flowers of fire
bloom above the iron tower.
How we have earned this harmony between us!

How hard he and I fought for freedom
from old wounds, hierarchies—fiery explosions!—
before we won true democracy, lasting peace.


Trimming the geraniums
outside my bedroom window,
I find a white feather

the size of my thumbnail
where the roots were spread
as if to make a nest.

Earlier, I’d awakened to a cooing
at dawn, a dove who seemed to be
settling, a commotion of wings

the instant I opened the curtains.
Or was it you, my darling,
my paloma, who one year ago was

ten days away from your last breath,
leaving me a tiny sign, saying, I’m still
with you, still guarding your sleep?

Hera, longing

The deluge:
deep grumbling thunder,
Zeus is not amused.

The geraniums drink deeply.
I stand at the open window
watch the strobing light,

the sky a strange violet.
That steeple just above the ivied wall:
will it be the rod which attracts the bolt?

What shall I do with this love
that fills me day and night? Where
can it find a home now that he is gone?

Here in my smithy
I forge my lightning bolts.
In whose heart will they find their target?

Roses, June 14, 2022

After sardines and tsatsiki,
talk of foxes and hedgehogs,
and Ilya’s question, What do you love?,
we climb the hill on Serifos,
see a rose blossoming over mountain and sea.

Rose Moon for the roses that bloom this time of year.
Strawberry Moon, according to the Algonquin.
Honey Moon, when honey was ready for harvesting,
sweetest moon of the year.

Vat Purnima, the three days of full moon
when married Hindu women tie a ribbon
round a banyan tree to show their love
for their husbands.

I have no husband.
No banyan trees on this island.
But my heart holds roses, ambrosia, and honey,
and a beloved as sleek as a jaguar,
as wise as an owl.

I will tie a golden thread
around a pine tree
and send this song to him
at the western edge of America
down Rose Avenue, artery of my heart.

© Kaaren Kitchell

Ariadnes Threads by Kaaren KitchellKaaren Kitchell’s poems have appeared in numerous literary journals (most recently in the Jung Journal Winter-Spring 2023), anthologies, and in a fine art manuscript at the Getty Museum. She received an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University, LA. She and her late husband, Richard Beban, taught Living Mythically at the C.G. Jung Institute in L.A., at Esalen in Big Sur, and in private workshops, based on her 30-year vision quest. A collection of her essays and his photos can be found at www.parisplay.com. Her most recent book of poems is Ariadne’s Threads. She can be reached at ariadnesweb@msn.com

Ariadne’s Threads is available at:





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.