SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Bell on Knee

There is the man who wears a bell

on his knee in that novel. It serves as a telling,

like the buoy near the north shore that rang out

the first night here—a warning to scatter. To give

berth, wide and slow and steady.

He walks in the garden, this man, this character,

this symbol, but there are no gardens here. Here,

instead, there is the unkempt lilac and drying pine

and the wild thimbleberry.

And the lake lunging, noisy and troubling, and then

still, the waves no more than shaken foil.

The small purple wildflower clinging to the stone

where I saw the butterflies—along the south shore, along

the point with the name of a girl you once loved.


The stone, reddish and swirled, bared

and visible below the water. With the hollowed out

bowls for smaller stones of grey.


The stream coppery and bloodied at its mouth.


Bells for me—markers

of something, these. Not a warning to disperse,

as with him.

Nor a god or faith, I don’t know—


of confirmation and bliss.

Kelly R. Samuels is a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominee. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various journals including The Carolina Quarterly, Sweet Tree Review, Salt Hill, Permafrost, and RHINO. She lives in the upper Midwest and has two chapbooks being released in early 2019.

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