The 'Shard' cycle: The Shards of Smiles, Belonging and The Vain, by Katherine Givens


Lotus on the water,
atop the blue-born mirror,
dallies in the shallows
close to the river edge.
Beads slip from its petals,
tears tracing purity.
On the still, mourning,
for the depths beneath
the sway of vines drifting
without rudder, without tether.
Lost on the surface
in pride and beauty
until the blossom shrivels
and sinks far, far below,
into the reflection.


A curve of the lips, a greeting,
a nicety, selfless,
a gift to passerby,
unshielded, unguarded,
an open warmth,
a mask lifted, a truth without lies,
a brightness, an insignia of humanity,
a burst unpredicted, a show not praised,
a prize without price, an infectious glimmer,
crowned with dimples,
joy’s brushstroke,
vulnerability granted,
the known and unknown,
pinned when trapped in the dire,
held onto as a memento,
twilight’s linger, the light in the gray,
a handshake unfelt,
a soft lilt in the day’s orchestra,
but, most important of all,
a connection with friend or stranger.


Lovers and leaders
take spins on a stage
of their own making.
Twirling, tapping,
in a production known
only to those with hands
Bonded by their triumphs
and mistakes,
while the onlooker
stands behind the lights.
On the stage, but not in the center,
asking if these lovers and leaders
belong to her, or if she trespasses
when her time comes
to circle through.

Katherine Givens graduates in June 2017 with an M.S. from Drexel University. She has publications in numerous print and online magazines including WestWard Quarterly, Tipton Poetry Journal, the Copperfield Review, Nazar Look, From the Depths, GFT Press, and Quail Bell Magazine, and forthcoming in the Voices Project and Strange Constellations. Learn more about Katherine and her writing at