KarlaHuston.com Publications

Grief Bone


Five Oaks Press


Left Wrist

Good-bye, dear wrist, small runway
to my hand—the way you flex
and extend, how I love your soft
blonde hairs, the way you shrug
into my sleeve when I’m cold.
Good-bye to the underside, skin
pale as milk, a blue river of blood
pulsing, sweet freckle and lump.
Today you are broken, skin purpled
and swollen, but tomorrow you
will be cut and probed, bones poked
into place, then plated and screwed
into something stronger, better,
perhaps bionic. So long to the old.
Goodbye to the smooth
and pristine. Hello ripple,
scar and story.




Outside of a Dog

…in Karla Huston’s Outside of a Dog. You may also expect that faithful and furry beasts will make numerous appearances … and … you will not be disappointed. But to say that this is a book about dogs doesn’t quite do it justice. What you may not expect, unless you are very familiar with Huston’s deft wordsmithing, are her wry and wonderfully wicked insights into the animals at either end of the leash… .

Ralph Murre
editor: Re/Verse
author, with Sharon Auberle: Wind Where Music Was, Little Eagle Press


dancing girl press



Was there a better poem
than a goddamn love song,
a bluesy three-line whine,
the repeating cry always
the same: my baby done
left me, he—or she—
somewhere in someone else’s
dreams while yours are
reduced to yearning
and even in dreams, yearning
produces nothing, he—or
she—doesn’t come, no kisses
on your fingertips, just the night
swim, you gulping water,
that rock tied to your ankles,
your dog somewhere howling
at some other moon.


A Theory of Lipstick

The terrific opening poem, “An Inventory of Lost Things,” with its focus
on loss and its movement between different areas of culture (“Lot’s Wife...”
Gina Lollobrigida”), serves as an overture of what’s to come: memorable
imagery, idiomatic and sonic pleasures galore, a gendered I/eye that states,
explores, lists, and narrates female experience, desire, artifacts, loss, and celebrations.
In her poem "Cheap Talk" Huston ends with the lines "the hopeful work/ to get it
where it feels so damned right." In The Theory of Lipstick, poem by poem, Huston
gets it "so damned right."

Susan Firer, author of Milwaukee Does Strange Things to People


Main Street Rag Publications






They wait at windows
in aprons and housedresses,
cross-your-hearts, buckled
and pointed. They wait
at kitchen windows, soapy hands
plunged into Joy, a little
orange grease catching the edges
of their wrists. They wait for husbands
to get home, for children walking
down streets, for the delivery
with its boxes and butcher paper
wrapping what they can’t afford
this week. They wait at picture
windows while plows clear snow
into impossible rows. They wait
for neighbors and coffee,
the Jewel Tea man with his bag
of brushes and cleaners,
for the Avon lady to ding dong,
bring vials of “To a Wild Rose,”
tiny tubes of pastel pinks. They wait
for the knock of The Millionaire
offering a check to solve
what ails them. For once,
they want to be Queen for a Day―
or at least the idea of it. Not
the pitiful sobbing women
in the small window of the TV.
They wait for the window
of the world they knew to open
and take them back.

Theory of Lipstick