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Katrina Kaye

I look for you the way I always have.

Listen to your voice
sing incantations of my youth,

eager to hear news of your religion
in the cadence mucked in the back of throat.

They lost you in the backyard.
Misplaced your skull,
body deteriorated into earth.

I miss the way you wrap around me.
A feeling thick as a childhood home,
a place where awkward flows a little more free
and body moves in familiarity.

You spoke of it.

I’ve given up on a search for home.

I focus on climbing your tree.
Washing the smell of your cigarettes from my pillows.
Stretching upwards in long clean arcs
hoping you will feel the tops of my out-stretched fingers.

The imprint of you:
a hollow through the center of me,
only cured by the scent of you in my kitchen,
and the radiation of your body as it sits
three feet from mine.

I search for your bones in my garden,
mud caked and brittle,
hopeful there may be a piece of you there:

a shard I can wear on a string
proudly around my neck,

your souvenir on my chest,

and when people ask,
I’ll say it reminds me of home.

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

The Past

Katrina Kaye

The past is not fallen leaves;
it is dirt blanketing newly planted seeds.
It is a crack in the window
causing the afternoon sun
to rainbow across my wall
where September’s cold seeps in.

The past is the eye lash fallen on cheek,
a turned up carpet and door with broken deadbolt,
a watch stopped five minutes till three.

Sometimes the past rebounds.
It scratches at door, curls
around fires, lays in my bed.
The past does not haunt me,
I haunt it. A lingering scent,
a familiar hand brushed upon
the small of my back.

In the clarity of reminiscence
I see what I have been looking away from.
It is stark and it is clear.
I must let the past solidify,
shape it into perpetual bricks,
and mend broken windows
until my house can stand.

I am leaving pieces of myself behind,
waiting for others to catch up,
wondering what it is about me
that is so easy to pass by.

“The Past” is previously published in September (2014).

Knives

Katrina Kaye

The knives she gave me
are perfect for slicing
strawberries at 10:24 pm
on a Thursday.

Almost too easy,
the way the fruit falls apart.

I miss her then.
Miss her sweetness
on tart tongue,
miss the way she told me
of true love
over and over by
counting my vertebrae
on slick fingers,
ticking off time.

There are too many knives
left behind.

More than half still wrapped
in cardboard and plastic,
held together with thin rubber bands.

The others stained with the juice
of fruit already sliced.

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

Frailty

Katrina Kaye

I can’t stand to watch you drop another glass,
so we toast a drink over the telephone.

You balance confession with comfort
while I stroke blemish on canvas,
eager to portray your anticipated resurrection.

Her pictures are pinned on the tile
around your medicine cabinet mirror.
As we speak I feel you stare,
absently hoping arms will emerge
from polished slate to touch you again.

You ask me what I know about human frailty.
I remind you of the bite on my neck
and the fingerprints on my hipbone.

It’s good I don’t bruise easily.

We sing “Sunday Morning”
across the wire in the recording studio
of your too small bathroom.
You say it’s because you sound
best in the shower,

but I know you prefer her face
against the reflection of my voice.

Puzzling our portrait together,
squares ill fit and fragmented,
I tried to capture my place along your side,
but the colors smear before they dry.

Last Thursday you scribed a poem
on the back of my thigh
and the skin still reddens where you stabbed your vowels.

Now, every beat of boots against hardwood hall
yields an ache for your knock on my door.

I want to dance with you,
trip under unbalanced steps,
pose your cigarette on unpainted lips.

I want to sketch our fingers interlaced,
listen to the way your voice claims my name.
Read all your letters out loud,
over and over,

but you are too consumed with
watching paint drip from forearm
to hear my spin on your words.

You stumble your speech, hiss alcohol,
use death as an excuse for a cold bed.
Say, in the mumble of the morning,
you love me still.

I only mutter how the bloodied
canvas before me is all I need to know of frailty.

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

Late Summer Rain

Katrina Kaye

Lightning comes late afternoon,
the quiet violence of forgotten religion.

She watches the sky cloud and
counts the seconds until thunder.

A summer storm,
the ignition of a flame or the
pulsation of an eye staring  intently
at a face looking away.

She walks barefoot on wet pavement,
runs through muddy fields,
and balances dragonflies on slick fingertips.

This afternoon ritual, a lover’s return,
lifts her head and fills her body.
She is fresh, alive, and new.

Every time she gives up, she can find
a new reason to try again,
even if it’s just for the late summer rain.

She closes her eyes and sucks in her breath.
Her counting ceases as the thunder comes.

“Late Summer Rain” is previously published in The Fall of a Sparrow (2014) and Hazy Expressions (2008).

Resurrection

Katrina Kaye

Wood, bone, steel,
are easier to bend
than the unseen.

At least this is how she felt.

No wall,
no gate,
no line marked clearly
in dead, brown dirt.

Yet the boundaries were
claimed long ago,
and the consequences,

outlined in the eyes
of fatherless children
and the creases
of blood caked knuckles
tightly weaving
wooden beads.

Our Father’s
whispered in remorse
can’t reclaim immaculacy
or breathe life
into aborted chest.

Inscribed doors
sway open,
attempting to reclaim
a wayward soul,

but persecuting eyes,
form unyielding barriers.

The reflection of
stained glass colored
her skin long ago.
The circling stations,
familiar faces murmur
Sunday morning’s story
of pink and pearl.

As a child,
she could recite all their songs.

“Resurrection” is previously published in the collection, my verse…, published by Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC in 2012 and one of the editions of Adobe Walls.