Highway

Katrina Kaye

Off the highway,
two miles outside of town,
the wind beckons
using a name  murmured by strangers.
It writes letters onto the skin of left hand
using an ex lover’s script
and gently presses right foot to pedal.

Open to the sky yet held earthbound,
vulnerable to asphalt and yellow lines,
entangled in turnpikes and exit signs.

Every unanswered desire
is painted inside rear view mirror,
a reminder of the path fate
once predicted, now left behind.

Between the pavement and the stars,
the road speaks violins and lifetimes,
ribbons and balloons freedom and possibilities,
the most gentle of gifts.

On this road two miles out of town,
a longing is conceived,
attached to every rib in cage,
to travel farther, to blister bare feet
with the miles trampled upon.

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

water rises

Katrina Kaye

Sometimes
water rises

levees break
floods erupt

sometimes
it’s slow

invisible to the eye
yet
apparent

sloshing up your legs
sagging a run into
a slow motion walk

waist deep

shoulder
neck
just above the break

sometimes
we drown

the smallest puddles
a missed birthday
forgotten pill
ringing telephone

sometimes oceans
alienation, heartbreak, childhood, morality, mortality
rip through

consume
enclose

crush

leaves us clinging like seaweed
still on the vein

sometimes water rises

sometimes it’s easier
to stand still
and let the water
rise

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

Your Chosen Tree

Katrina Kaye

This body is the tall laurel stretched skyward.

These arms flail wildly,
always reaching too far,

serve better as branches to break
the sun from stony earth,
and streak light across your face.

This hair,
the blending of so many leaves

hide spine in the form of autumn,
fall in phases of the year,

change yellow to orange
to brown to dirt.

I cannot be your lover despite clever disguise,
and I am too old to be a flowered bride,
whose petals you stroke and
call your lovely.

Let me be your tree.

I stand well on my own knotted knees,
my posture firm against the winking of eons.

Balance your feet
on my
rigid roots,

stare at my silhouette
blackened against setting sun,
touch battered bark with tentative stroke.

My weathered skin
remembers past affections,
the words carved
into trunk remain there still.

And when I am no longer picturesque
and you no longer call me darling,
I will still hold
memory
in my gathering rings
and sprout blossoms of fruit
to scatter
around you.

When you come,
I’ll be where you left me,
happy to shade your head.

Take this token in place of me.
Be contented to wood and debris,
and regret not
your foolish play with bows and arrows.

“Your Chosen Tree” is previously published in The Fall of a Sparrow (2014).

Time

Katrina Kaye

He says
he will make
time for me,

as if time is
a tangible thing
that can be woven
among baby’s breath,
wrapped in shiny
paper and ribbon,
and gifted at
front door.

As if time is
a silver necklace
with a knot in its chain,
a string of
green yarn
knit into
favorite sweater.

As if time can
be folded
like an origami acrobat
and added to
ornaments on mantle.

As though you
can conceive time
as easily as opening
passenger door
or buying the next round.

So do it, Darlin’
make time for me.

Create it from
your hands,
like a dove
under your sleeve.

Give me Sunday mornings
warm in your bed,
lingering coffee cups.

Lend me late night confessions
without worry for sleep
and kitchen floor tangos
where no time ticks.

Grant me the chance
to hold on to time
like you held on to my body,
fully with both
arms securely wrapped.

Gift me yesterdays
that slipped sly past.

Allow me to
stroke time slow,
savor its flavor,

leave time malleable
so I can fold into it,
stretch it like pink bubble gum
between the place we met
and the night we end,

mold time like red clay
against the distances I ran
and the sunrise I slept through.

I want to see time
instead of missing it.
I want to put a name to it
instead of a vacant hole
in my stomach.

Make time for me.
Weave it thread by thread,
quilt it into blue blanket
larger than just
the cover of my body,

so there is room
for you beside me.

“Time” is previously published in Flare (2019).