Booby Trap by Karen Little

in Poetry

Karen Little has produced a group of pamphlets by nine poets, creating original covers in her own distinctive art style from her trailer van on the South Coast of England. Each illustration reacts with and amplifies themes from the title poems. This is a unique series put together by a very individual maker and writer and occupies a place in poetry equivalent to Outsider Art.

POETRY EXPO will be publishing work from every pamphlet in the series. The list includes Katherine Waudby, Gillian Prew and Clare Shaw.


Booby Trap


Slices of violent shadow
rapidly painted a history
terrifying in its lack of tender.

I craved the sugared almond days,
the butter – cream sentiment
of other people’s lives.

I sat on the coldest step,
holding against their thumping cries
a bag of goldfish,

suspended twists of tail and fin,
my ocean,
breathing calm.

He was the meaty stock
underlying everything.
An odour.

The greasy look he gave me, as he opened
the double – page spread of his day,
words booby – trapped.

She taught me what an un-mothered mother
could teach her daughter,
to push away what you don’t understand,

to ignore the past
and it’s sure to go away.
One day he came home

and she left. She shuttered the windows
as she took off, and I could see, slitted like eyes,
the inside of her domestic space.


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