Wine Glass

Katrina Kaye

I position
his arms around
my body
so they hold me
like you used to
when we wedged
into the twin bed
in your basement studio
all those years ago.
I needed only to have
you beside me again,
to cure the cramp
in my gut and the crackle
in my throat with the comfort
of warm body and perfect embrace.

You are gone,
so I use him.

A restless boy with too
much to prove, who has your
height but not your eyes,
who makes me laugh like you
once did and likes to watch
me when I am looking away
so close to your sideways glance.

I shatter myself into him.
Being useless in this skin,
I sought the soul beneath.

It only broke
my heart a little
when he left,
no more than a wine glass
forgotten on the floor
crushed under the klutz
of an early morning
stumble toward bath.

“Wine Glass” is previously published in September (2014).

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I come to you

Katrina Kaye

I come to you
warm and bleeding.
Raw and unbleached.

A slice across Achilles tendon,
unfelt shave of skin
that gushes ripe,
and drips footprints across
your Persian rug.
An invitation to follow.

I come with tact in hand,
spotting handshake,
staining interwoven lifelines.
The kindness presented to me
stabbed through palm.

In anticipation of your cold hands
and medicinal lips,
I offer a sun burn across my thighs.
A collection of rain drops
held tight in Mason jar.

I bring rose gardens
guarded by chain link fence
and two rows of razor wire,

an empty bottle
with my lipstick on the neck,
a cloche spouting sparrow feathers,
a jockey’s whip,
and an ex lover’s name
tattooed on skin that has
never seen the heat of flame.

You never ask where I’ve been;

You tend scratches,
recite a romance of battle
with gravel in your throat.
Show me two broken ribs,
and a bootleg audio of a concert
I was too drunk to remember.

You reciprocate generosity
with lean strokes of your stare
across my worse for wear face,

and whisper how my split nails,
calloused heels, and reckless speech
made you a better man.

“I come to you” is previously published in The Fall of a Sparrow (2014).


Katrina Kaye

I thought I
was ready for
the collision of
tooth to chest,
so I waited
for bullet
to light up sky.
I remained
patient for barrage
to shatter my
faith in you.
I apologize
for letting you gut
me in the fashion
of an animal.

I am left with a scar
dug into flesh.
A badge flashing from
right shoulder,
which you ignore
every time you
brush past.

“Badge” is previously published in September (2014).

No Longer

Katrina Kaye

I do not see ghosts anymore
but they are still here.
I watch them in the sparrows
I no longer have the inclination
to chase. I feel them in the music
I no longer have the patience
to memorize. I  dance with them,
but no longer remember when first
I learned the steps; I listen to their
words, though I no longer speak
their native tongue. I hear them in the drip
of the faucet late at night, the creak
of the floorboards as I pass through.
I can still feel them within this home,
these walls, this air. They remain.
The one constant I know.

“No Longer” is previously published in Rabbits for Luck (2016).


Katrina Kaye

The day you
asked me
to marry you,

I should
have broke
in two,
snapped twig,
the froth
on the mouth
of dead dog.

You were
the only
door frame left
standing amid
the rubble.

I should have
stretched out inside
the safety
you gifted me.

I should have
given you the
answer that would
mend the earth,
rebuild buildings,
stack bricks,
unscorch broken glass.

I should have
said yes.

I sent ripples
through ground.

I toppled trees,
kicked fire hydrants,
released panicked dogs
to the streets.

I should have given
you one perfect day.

Instead, I left the
ground to quake.

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