H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S 

Karen Craigo is the author of the poetry collection No More Milk (Sundress, 2016) and the forthcoming collections Passing Through Humansville (ELJ, 2017) and American Morning (Stay Thirsty Media, 2017). She also has two chapbooks, Stone for an Eye (Kent State/Wick, 2004), and Someone Could Build Something Here (Winged City, 2014). 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, the interviews editor of SmokeLong Quarterly, an editor of Gingko Tree Review, and the managing editor of ELJ Publications.

​Cover Art: Megan Loudon-Sanders

Publication date : November 2016

Pages : 26

​Hand sewn, open edition


K A R E N   C R A I G O

The poems in Karen Craigo's chapbook Escaped Housewife Tries Hard To Blend In are adrift in a world where feminine conventions rebel with a prophetic rigor. The protagonist of the poems takes the readers on a journey away from the spectacle of domesticity to one that enacts and reconfigures the strange yet familiar spaces at the margins of the commonplace, where the rules of language and real word fall apart to inhabit the freedom of wishes and fantasies that interrogate with a stunning clarity.


Escaped Housewife Takes Work at the Floating Cannery

The minute she threw her wedding ring
over the stern she had second thoughts.
It flitted fishlike for half a second
beneath the surface, but she believed
she could follow it down, down
to the bottom of the bay.
She saw that the ocean floor was knee-deep
in the detritus of regret—
in prom dresses and bus fare, or the odd
stoop-shouldered skeleton
with palms upturned. Her fingers
are naked under her rubber gloves.

She has learned to detect the grid
on the bellies of salmon, the dotted line
where the knife goes in.
She has whispered There, there, felt the fish
go calm in her hands.
It only takes a second
to search the stomach, that purse
where the body stows its valuables.

She has told herself if she finds it
she must return, slip into her chair
at the table, resume her conversation
as if she had only stepped away
for a peek into the oven.

Though docked, she could believe
from the angle of light
that each day she inches closer
to warmer latitudes.
She pictures herself facedown
above a coral reef, sipping air
through a straw. But how
will she stop herself

Escaped Housewife Tries Hard To Blend In


By Karen Craigo