Fairy Slippers

bright blossoming flower of orchid in sunlight
At ten, I discovered green-world wonders 
in the forest next to my house—shoe-flowers,
size small enough to fit my pinky. 

Fairy slippers grew at crouching level, 
bright magenta against kale-dark leaves, 
rhubarb-red stems. Calypso bulbosa orchids 
bloomed in Oregon shade, made 
for a woodland ball. 

Stepping deer-light through dogwood, 
ferns & firs, I drank the dappled shadow, 
breathed the moss-sap scent of spring, 
kept Calypso’s secret for myself. 

Ellen Girardeau Kempler

Ellen Girardeau Kempler’s poems have appeared in the Mindful Poetry Anthology, Narrative Northeast, Writers Resist, Phoenix Rising Review, Gold Man Review, Orbis International Poetry Quarterly and many other small presses and anthologies. In 2016, she won Ireland’s Blackwater International Poetry Prize and honorable mention in Winning Writers’ Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest. Called ‘a timely and powerful selection of climate poetics,’ her chapbook, ‘Thirty Views of a Changing World: Haiku + Photos,’ was published in December 2017 by Finishing Line Press. https://www.ellengirardeaukempler.com/