The Dead

Katrina Kaye

There is
a hand
on my spine

pressing
backbone
under water.

I feel
the winkled
fingerprint

tattooed
into flesh.

It makes
me think
of the years

you pressed me
under your thumb.

All the times
I came
when you called,

eager at your door

only to receive
the scraps
you flung to
impassioned jaws.

Your fingers
never bruised me;

my teeth
never scraped
your hand.

I was held
at arm’s reach
secure

between palm
and fingers

left to
kick and curse,

powerless.

I have no idea
how to climb
back to the surface.

But I do
understand
how one might
arrive on dry land

only to curse
the sand in
the cracks
between toes.

My patience is
heavy and this
sickness shakes
me to the bone.

I am not the one
to recite a
memoir for the dead,

I am better
practiced
at letting go,

allowing the water
to pull me under
and dissolve.

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

Breeze

Katrina Kaye

I hope for a morning breeze,
cool air against hot skin.
I want to feel the creep,
the bite,

but the air is stiff,
hanging thick and cruel.

I cannot help but wonder at
the slap and kick of destiny.
The way the seasons tricked
me into loosing track of sunrises
and thunder storms.

I became immune to thirst,
the burn of flame to finger,
the squeeze and release of
sunburn on across my back.

The curse of burnt grass under hot sun
doesn’t prick my heel like it once did.

I became somehow clean;
wrapped in white sheets,
tied tight to sunlight.

And yet,
I long for comfort in the still of morning.
Something new and fresh
to chill heated skin.

Summer cooled by open window,
the soft breeze of morning air
slipping in,
letting go.

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

Order September today or check it out on Kindle Unlimited through Amazon.

Finch

Katrina Kaye

one should not be
too careless with love

when the yellow finch perches
on fingertip, do not flick
her away; do not be crass

thank her for coming
ask her to stay

birds flutter and fly
they shift and peddle
small jerks and shifting eyes

they are not meant to keep still

let her stay
as long as she likes

and allow her the sky
when she chooses to take wing

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

Warrior

Katrina Kaye

There is a problem
with becoming a warrior;

a sense of posture and
responsibility once
established is near
impossible to slouch.

Despite the tattoos,
scars, and harsh vocabulary
there are grenades
crumbling in my chest.

The child sacrificed
is hollering
through bones,
rattling through
circulation.

I carved a line that
cannot be uncrossed.

This shield can’t be dropped
for fear of an exposed vein.
My bow ever present
for fear of an empty hand.

The lullabies I forever
hummed by heart have
turned too sweet
to pass through these split lips.

It has been years
since the perfection of childhood,

yet I still curl like innocence
into the corners of my bed,
lying still so as not to be found.

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

Order September today or check it out on Kindle Unlimited through Amazon.