X

Katrina Kaye

One tied to my
left wrist,

wraps silver around
ring finger,
pulls with
all his might.

He wants to keep
me. Take me away
in a whirlpool of
reckless dreams
doomed to dissipate.

He knows nothing
of the cruelty
of the earth.

*

The other
strapped herself
to right ankle,

wants nothing
more than my smile,
says she loves me.

I stopped calling
her a liar.

She wants me to walk
on her, wants to be
my road, holds me
firmly to the ground.

*

I am tied,
pulled in
opposition

and have grown tired
of the struggle.

All I want is
to touch
my own skin.

Yet I still
tremble at the
thought of being
let go.

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

On the Plane

Katrina Kaye

to Houston,
I catch the scent
of my grandmother.

I couldn’t place
it’s origin,
but I knew
it as her.

I am not one to commune
with other worlds,
never been touched by angels
or seen flashes of god.

I have the spirituality
of an earth worm,

but
I still hope.
I always hope.

And my mind wonders at
the wandering soul
of my grandmother
as she passes through
narrow cabin.

I slip
into seat
and let her slip
into my mind.

Freely,
I trace the veins of
her cold hands,
the lines of her smile,
the sound of her laugh
all these precious memories,
cradling the images
close at mind,
tight to heart.

But they wander easy,
fade in a mere moment
as fast as
passing breeze
into the light
of rising sun.

“On the Plane” previously published in the collection, my verse…, published by Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC in 2012.

wave

Katrina Kaye

I jerk wake
somewhere between
the rattle of the fan
and a light in the hall

sheets twist around body
a tangle of seaweed
attempting to drag me
back under rocky tide

sulking by your side
I find cool reprieve
to skin heated by
blistering dreams

head resting on chest
arm sprawled again abdomen
you have become an island
offering firm terrain
to battered mind and body

resting on your shoreline
the nightmare dissipates
and breath is sound

my body soaks
in the steady wave
of your inhalation

“wave” is previously published in A Scattering of Imperfections (2009) published by Casa de Snapdragon.

Release

Katrina Kaye

I practice release:

For too many years I kept
carcasses baited on hook,
held skeletons long
after their slow decay.

My house reeks of
decomposition.
The dust piled heavy
on unread books,
the sand on windowsill
that comes from the
March winds.

It is time to practice release:

Open windows,
leave doors ajar,
allow the cat to slip in
and out around unkempt stoop.

Burn poems, pictures, throw away
artwork piled behind dressers.
Dismiss the bundled burden of
birthday cards from shoebox.

All the keepsakes that define
who I was are no longer relevant
to whom I have become.
Let them dissolve into sand
and seep through fingers,
sticking and scattering
where it may.

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

While she sleeps,

Katrina Kaye

I watch the clouds gather
outside the bedroom window

the snow is coming

please let the snow come

the hush of the early morning
wraps itself around me
turning my breath to ghost

While she sleeps,
I make coffee
enough for both of us
but I know hers will go cold
before she wakes

when she wakes

if she wakes

I watch the sky
and pray for snow
let coffee bitter the tongue
take in the air
from my lungs

when I woke
I was colder than I have
ever been
I was talking to ghosts
that are still clinging to flesh and blood

When I woke,
I was alone so I stayed
beside her while she slept

across the room

in a blanket and chair

by the window

sipping the coffee and
watching the sky
praying for snow
hoping she wakes soon

so neither of us
will be alone

“While she sleeps,” was previously published in Saturday’s Sirens (2021).