Anita and I recently each received copies of Editing a Vapor Trail by Karen Bonaudi, published this year by Pudding House Publications in Columbus, Ohio. Karen lives in Moses Lake, and over the years has done a lot for poets and poetry in Washington. This 25-poem chapbook is the first opportunity I’ve had to read a complete collection of her poems, and I am smitten! This is a wonderful book, with carefully crafted, intelligent poems that all offer delicious passages and dazzling images. Some of them address pain and loss, others capture unforgettable moments, such as “Out by the woodpile sits a bird / with a song that sounds / like the closing of a door.” Anita and I brought our copies of Editing a Vapor Trail out to the pond, and took turns reading all the poems aloud to each other, inviting her words to brighten us “like sunlight on stones beneath the water.”

—James Bertolino

Jim and I have read many poetry books, magazines and single poems out at our Noon Road pond where the dark water and the reflections of trees and sky mingle with fallen leaves and water lilies. Sometimes the water moves like it’s alive, sometimes a fish jumps, a dragonfly hovers nearby, or a chorus of frogs starts up. There is no better place to read poetry. Karen Bonaudi’s chapbook fit exceptionally well with the pond’s environment. The title, Editing a Vapor Trail, is a great one, because the reader can get several meanings from it, and they’d all be true. Her poems are small contrail metaphors where the subject that once was obvious fades into something else less conspicuous, but just as present. Karen’s poems address revisions of memory, changes in history, alterations within the family and other subjects worth considering.

—Anita K. Boyle


The autumn the leaves
all blew away
we didn’t have to rake,
didn’t have to remember
the things we had told
each other in the dark,
for everything was clear.

—Karen Bonaudi
(from Editing a Vapor Trail)