Kore

Katrina K Guarascio

he changed
my name, mother

he painted my
hair red and left
my skin hidden from
childish strokes
of sun

for three months
I hid in back rooms
knowing full well
the sun was shinning

I found comfort in the
shadow of his kindness
mother,

did you realize
this ripening fruit
was ready to be plucked?

In your absence
I fell from vine

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

Ordinary Grief

Katrina K Guarascio

“How does one commemorate the ordinary?”
~Sherman Alexie
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me

flowers are a start
even if they are cut
even if they
too
will die

after all
we do not want our grief
to outlast its usefulness
the way trinkets and mementos
so often do

grief will outlast
the flowers

but they will serve as
a reminder
the cycle continues
there is always
something changing
in our hearts

from decay
a newness can arise
with love
forgiveness
passing of time

shells soften
by the turn of tides
diamonds eventually
crumble to sand

grief shouldn’t
last forever

take time
commemorate this grief
this ordinary
this everyday
but don’t ask it to remain

like the most resilient of roses
grief too will shed its pedals
and lose its glamour

grief will return to earth

it will erode like fallen leafs
like skin and bones
like love
and
in time
it will be forgotten

“Ordinary Grief” is previously published in Anti-Heroin Chic, December 2018.

Seven of Them

Katrina K Guarascio

‎”…all kisses are metaphors decipherable by allocations of time, circumstance, and understanding…”
~Saul Williams

I

It is not
the first time
a man pressed
lips boldly
against the back
of my hand,
but that quick act,
from a brass jaw
accompanied by
crystal gaze,
caused a blush
from inside out
painting the pink
of vulnerability.

II

On our wedding day,
he took his time,
knowing he had forever.
It wasn’t the kiss
I blew when I rushed
out the door,
or the one he stole when
the late hours
of night crept in.
He could start slow,
lips together before parting,
desire restrained
before release.
It was his hand
on waist,
the curve of fingers
in-between his own.
Not a grip,
but an interweave,
gentle as the
rain leaking from the roof
after the storm.

III

Sitting on the bed
in your hotel room,
you worked all night
to get me there
alone.
I worked all
night to let you.
Safe from peering eyes
with the conversation
drying on our tongues,
you ask,
with the respect of a prayer
for a kiss.
It was a question
I answered hours ago.

IV

Her lips,
the petals of daffodils,
we lacked the grace
of age’s implication
and fumbled foolish,
like children
underwater.

V

I feel the rash
on my face,
a blossom of red where
beard rubbed
sensitive chin
and cheeks.
I imagine my appearance,
like a child eating pie
with hands tied behind back,
cherry filling smeared
left and right.
This is how you reflect
upon my skin.

VI

He thinks she doesn’t
know he’s there,
but she feels
his presence
in the doorway.
She stands
her back to him,
not acknowledging
his stare
as she slips
clothes to floor.
She pretends not
to notice his approach,
until his hand
finds its space upon
bare hip and his
lips caress the
tender top of spine,
she closes her
eyes and exhales.

VII

Part of me knows
it is the last.
It’s why I take
my time,
hovering lips
beside yours,
breathing in your air,
an exchange of vows
or last rites.

 

“Seven of Them” is previously published in Rabbits for Luck (2016).

Shed

Katrina K Guarascio

When I shaved
the skin bloody
on each part of

my body you
ever touched
and the flakes

of dead cells
accumulated,

gathering upon
each other with
the stroke of
worn green towel,

leaving skin
raw and rough,

tender red but
still intact,

that is when
I knew

only time would
shed you.

“Shed” is previously published in To Anyone Who Has Ever Loved a Writer (2014).