Sway

Katrina Kaye

I could sway
in ways
unwritten.
I could linger,
hands clenched
and wrapped.

Let me love myself
all over you.

I would
simply reach,
touch,
scrape the muscle
of your back,
embrace the
burden of
your weight
on shoulder.

Pinned here,
rib bones peek
through flesh,
body held
in place,
puzzle pieces
align.

“Sway” is previously published in They Don’t Make Memories Like That Anymore (2011).

Water

Katrina Kaye

I want to be
river:

persisting despite rocks
and debris,
moving forward
until the discovery of peace
distinct as reflection
in puddling pond’s
shimmering surface.

I want to be
ocean:

calm when captured,
but contain currents
with the capacity to
overturn ships
and drown a man.

I want to be
rain:

unpredictable as the
size of each drop,
holding the promise
of life as well as the
threat of storm.

I want to be
water:

content to fish bowl,
yet curious for more.
shapeless and vast,
heavy and ethereal.

Like water,
I want to be strong,
indiscernible,
and necessary.

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

tightrope

Katrina Kaye

tonight
i am tightrope

stretched
east to west
held taut

tonight
i dare you
to step on
my back

knowing your
lack of balance

knowing your
lack of precision

tonight
i am uncomfortable
under your weight

knowing you
see me
as one more
feat to complete

thinking
i am cord
and nylon and
easy conquest

i can’t wait
to watch
you fall

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

Melt

…that this too solid flesh would melt…

Melt, flesh, melt…

Starve cheeks gaunt.
Count vertebrae poking through
an elephant’s ridged back.

Stretch skin around pile of sticks.
Drape clothes on hanger hipbones.

When arms wrap around frame
say how they go right through,
corporeal diminished to ghost.

Melt, flesh, melt…

Let skin prickle with shiver,
bones clink like wind chimes.

Skirt fingers upon skeleton
exposed through dorsal skin.
Body’s topography foreign
under well terrained fingers.

It’s not about sexy anymore.
Not sure it ever was.

Hard to remember the initial
skipped meal of childhood,
running until knees gave to collapse,
the earliest mirror reflection that spat back.

It seems it was always this way.
Hold backbone together
with thin layers of spit and glue.
Skull bobbles on shoulder blades.

Freshman summer of thirteenth year,
a week’s worth of consumption added
to water and orange juice.

On the seventh day,
stomach heaves with the rot of bile.

At nineteen, diet consists of
coffee, ephedrine, cigarettes.

There are no more curves
to define woman over creature.
Feminine forfeits to stick figure
and it isn’t enough.

Melt, flesh, melt…

Keep count.
Constant comparisons:
measurements, lists, graphs,
charting roads which lead to bone yard.

Slip into winter’s shade.
Shortened days make it easy to hide,
stay veiled in the dim.
There is comfort in the buried.

Secure behind barricade,
confined to bed,
no longer know hunger
or hear telephone.
Locked from the inside,
they take the hinges off the door.

Melt, flesh, melt…
Flee this corpse for better.

All I ever wanted,
all I ever wanted,

all I ever wanted,

was

skin

and bones.

“Melt” is previously published in the collection, my verse…, published by Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC in 2012 and Light as a Feather; an anthology of resilience (2019).