Her Absence

Katrina K Guarascio

I do not regret the days
I spent loving you in her absence.

I do not regret
your tempered touches
as you searched for her skin
under my scales

or the way your eyes reflected
her sharp chin and freckled chest
when they fell on my frame.

I do not regret
the fleeting space we created,
morning gestures
in the folds of sheet and flesh.

Tending your wounds
with tongue and time.

You found solace
with your elbows on my table,
your dirty feet in my bed,
but I knew you would exit
on your own side to look
out the south facing window.

She was ever present
upon the waves of your thoughts.

Your ears keen for her voice,
but I heard it first,
soft as the buzz of bumble bees on the beach
calling you home.

I do not regret
returning to a solitary balcony
above the ocean’s turning point,
or slipping inside my bed,
still warm in your place.

As you kiss my hands
in gratitude of my hospitality,
my kindness,

don’t leave thinking,
I am emptied.

I gave what I wanted,
no more,
no less.

“Her Absence” is previously published in the collection, my verse…, published by Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC in 2012 and Vox Poetica in 2011.

My Mother

Katrina K Guarascio

my mother once told me

through the smoky air of our living room
after a long drag and a long drink

the women in our family have been
known to bring out the worst in men

drink
drag

but there was never one of them
that didn’t regret we were gone

she leaned back and looked at me
took a drag
sort of winked

I think it’s the brown eyes

“my mother” is previously published in the collection, my verse…, published by Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC in 2012 and several other literary magazines from 20 years ago. It is my most published poem.

Solstice

Katrina K Guarascio

You are not the only one
who crawls out at night

to slip to the far side yard
and sit beneath
the hanging wisteria
to eavesdrop on the stars.

I see you there.

Bare arms against
laced sleep shirt,
reflecting drops of silver
dribbled by night sky.

You roam
through the dim,
clicking cloven hooves,
thinking you are the only girl
the moon calls

until your eyes fall to mine.

“Solstice” is previously published in The Fall of a Sparrow (2014).

Hunger

Katrina K Guarascio

 

In the days of hunger strikes
and promises made too easily,
I wanted the simplicity of touch
and your chest to support my fears.

It’s been years since I scraped feet
against white sheets and,
standing separate,

we attempted to rebuild empires
weathered to rubble.

But crawling belly to concrete
only left fresh scratches that spit
slivers of blood striping our shirts.

In the days of ice and cannibal,
you kept me from shivering
as the tips of my fingers
turned black with bite.

You kissed the armor of elbow,
knowing it would never be enough
but just the same,

it was the tenderness you knew,
and I was gracious.

There wasn’t enough strength in grasp
to pull from gravel.
Not enough resilience in blood
to let scratches scab.
You left me weak and broken.

I learned then
the itch under my skin
could not be scratched
by the eager fingers of men.

The most distinct lifelines transform when
left to swell and wrinkle in hot water.

I never wanted to be
unrecognizable to touch
even as time turned copper to rust.

In the days of sprinkled streets
and pocket watches,
I grew before you.

Less a weed
more an orchard of oranges,
ripening under your gaze.

You wanted me then
and the promise of war
kept body alive.

We slid easily,
eager for regression.
We broke twigs and tricks
as if our feet were only made to slip.
As if the inevitable
was petroglyphed on our bedroom walls.
We were made to feed.

It was never a question
how we became savage.

“Hunger” is previously published in The Fall of a Sparrow (2014) by Swimming with Elephants Publications, The Legendary Issue 39,  and ConnotationPress.com 2013.

The Pier

Katrina K Guarascio

You can see where the old pier
used to be, hundreds of water
warped posts standing at attention
in the shallow water. You can see

how low the tide has receded. They are
lost souls, blackened by time and hard
water, seething salt from tattered torsos.
They watch the beach as if they remembered

the feel of sand between their toes but
they have sulked too long, become one with
the rippling patterns. Strangers forever
separated by five distinctive feet.

“The Pier” is previously published in Chasing Rabbits (2012).

Lifeboat

Katrina K Guarascio

The first time
I held death
in the salt water of lung
hopeful to be pulled
on raft and have air
pressed into chest.

The second time I pushed
under the water.

I let go
knowing full well there was
no point in waiting for a
kind hand.

I will not give
the satisfaction to mourn
death or save life,

not when I can still
keep head above water.

I may have been made
a fool for carrying crosses,
but I earned them.

They keep me afloat.

These storms leave
such peace
in their wake.

“Lifeboat” is previously published in Chasing Rabbits (2012).

Alice

Katrina K Guarascio

little girl
with the
blue dress
acts sad
as she
prances around
the yard

pretending fish
tell tales
and looking-glasses
hold more
than reflections

she stopped
eating
the pink
frosted cookies
when she
found out
they were
the reason
she got
so big

she stopped
digging in
the backyard
after she
realized all
the rabbits
fled their holes

she wishes
her imagination
would take
hold of
her again

instead of
teasing her
with glimpses
into what
might be

if only
she could
fall asleep
a second time

“Alice” is previously published in A Scattering of Imperfection (2009) and More Fire than Sun (2008).

2 things

Katrina K Guarascio

there are
2 things

i
now know
for certain:

i loved
you with
every beat
of my self

&

it did
not matter

 

“2 things” is previously published in Rabbits for Luck (2016).