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Saharan dust blows into Atlanta
kicked up by storms 5,000 miles away.
It grits our eyes and teeth and breath,
the sharp sketch of skyline now
a chalk painting, smudged.
Newscasters warn our lungs. Air thicker
than in 60 years. This feels like another scourge
after riots two weeks ago, amidst a pandemic,
and my home flooded.
Still, the dust fascinates me,
how it can float un-dispersed across seas.
How the desert has come to the green lush South,
bearing minerals to feed plants
and dry air to starve hurricanes.
How a dirt-gray plume can bring such sunsets
purple, red, neon gold.


Karen Paul Holmes has two poetry collections, No Such Thing as Distance (Terrapin, 2018) and Untying the Knot (Aldrich, 2014). Her poems have been featured on The Writer’s Almanac and Tracy K. Smith’s The Slowdown. Publications include Diode, Verse Daily, and Prairie Schooner, among others. She founded and hosts a critique group in Atlanta and a monthly open mic in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

© 2021, Karen Paul Holmes

One comment on “The Unpredictable Sweetness of Chaos, by Karen Paul Holmes

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