Kathy Ellis (Western Voices 2022)

Bio: Kathy Ellis is an English as a Second Language Coach/Instructor and Cross-cultural Communication Trainer, who resides in Atlanta, Ga.  Poetry was always dancing around in Kathy’s head, so she finally answered the nagging call to pick up the pen eight years ago. Kathy co-facilitates two poetry groups and writes a column in a national professional newsletter. You will find Kathy’s awarded poetry in various anthologies, journals, magazines, and online venues. She self-published two poetry books, Wings from Roots and Primero, which can be found on Amazon, and she is currently working on the publication of an adventure story in poetry form. Kathy is honored to serve on the advisory board for The Georgia Poetry Society. 




My father reversed his name,

from Derwent to Raymond.

“We understand why,”

everyone agreed.

Did the child ever hear,

“Derwent, shuck the corn.”

“Derwent, pass the kidney pie.”

Too late to know.


A few actors, painters, politicians

carried this name in the 1800s.

In England.

Wonder how their lives went?

Derwent names cities, gardens, parishes

in the United Kingdom.

Even a river in Tasmania.

Not so bad.

Small town America

was not welcoming to such a name,

especially in a one-room schoolhouse of laughing children.


When my teenage voice announced

that I wanted to change my name,

my father responded

with no pause,

no insult,

no asking why,

“When you turn 18. “


Bloody hell.

I never did.





Boss Man indentures certain employees.

Turns them into shadows and templates.

The office is a cloudy shelter for trapped minds.

He feels righteous to define the ceiling for many.


He commands a pregnant woman to get back to her office.


She struggles to get out of a co-worker’s chair.

She reports him to HR.


He bangs on an employee’s office door for a meeting.

“Now,” he says.

She shouldn’t talk with a certain co-worker.

He feels a conspiracy.

She is to unpack his marketing materials.

He humiliates her in front of the all-male team.

She reports him to HR.


He insults female professors.

“Do what you are told.” he says. “I am the boss”.

They report him to HR.


One employee he declares perfect.

He knows that she will bail him out

in marketing meetings with the VPs.

She smiles pretty. Talks sweet.


He knows how everything is done.

He knows the solutions to nowhere.

He has the gift of gab.


Ahead of the HR actions to come,

the Boss Man resigns.

He goes to each person to say goodbye

because no one goes to him.

There was no beginning.




Nightmares Freeze


Even nightmares scare each other.

An unconscious shutdown

of bloody limbs,

sinking in melted silver,

endless searches of nothing,

floating tissues of century-old ghosts,

muted screams struggling for control.


Dark, take heed.

Thaw the unconscious.

Bring in the dancing flashlights.

Fly over landfills of sparkles and rust.

Dull his crown of thorns.

Slumber in ashes that still possess life.

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