“Through the Wringer” by Karen Corinne Herceg

monet karenn
Detail from The Rose-Way in Giverny (ca. 1920) by Claude Monet, Wikimedia Commons 

In confusion about

the true nature of things,

I see you

like a label on a new shirt:

washing instructions,

fabric content,

formula for care.

While I’m reading

the arms begin to move

toward me,

the collar wears a wry smile,

the buttons wink.

In a quick switch of roles

it washes me, wrings me out

and hangs me up.

Later, dry and stiff,

I lift my arms to you.

Too bleached and starched,

I stumble forward

cracking into many pieces

scattering across the waxed floor.

Only the label remains.



Karen Corinne Herceg graduated from Columbia University. Nirala Publications released her second book, Out From Calaboose: New Poems, in 2017. She publishes poetry, prose, reviews and essays internationally, including in the American Book Review. Her interview with  Alan Alda was the cover of Writer’s Digest’s November/December 2017 issue. Her next interview is with novelist Gail Godwin, and her latest essay appeared in the spring 2019 issue of Hedgehog Review, University of Virginia. Herceg lives in France.