Karen Craigo


Clash of Clans


The town hall is at the hub
and we ring it with jagged walls.
This is about preservation.
We place archer towers
at the corners, add cannons,
hide invisible bombs. If you lose
the center, you stand
to lose everything,
so we protect it with all
we have. Our son has moved on
to a different game—
he plants sunflowers
to repel the undead,
but I’m up early to maraud.
While my family sleeps,
I send out my goblins to steal.
Daily, his father and I
train dragons, we guard
our gold—we do what we can
to hold it all together.





It’s the night when the veil is thinnest—
this world, the other, rustle the same curtain
with their breath. The veil between having
and not having Milk Duds is barely present,
only three to a box. Apples are deadly,
and home-baked cookies, too, the veil
between grandma and sociopath
ripped wide. In ancient times, villagers
would place food beyond town’s edge
to lead spirits away. They wore masks
to fool their ghosts. Tonight, the veil
between costume and none is stretched
by cold. Princesses wear tuques for tiaras.
Batmen are puffy with down.
You swore you’d grow into the one
who offers the full-sized Snickers,
but look at you, bowl of Dum-Dums
by your door. The margin between who you are
and who you planned to be is a heavy scrim.




Karen Craigo

Karen Craigo is the author of the poetry collections No More Milk (Sundress, 2016) and Passing Through Humansville (Sundress, forthcoming in 2018). She also has a new chapbook, Escaped Housewife Tries Hard to Blend In (Hermeneutic Chaos, 2016). She maintains Better View of the Moon, a daily blog on writing, editing, and creativity, and she teaches writing in Springfield, Missouri. She is the nonfiction editor and former editor-in-chief of Mid-American Review, as well as the interviews editor of SmokeLong Quarterly.