Shard

Katrina Kaye

Like glass, he shattered.

A thousand ragged pieces
slipped away from me
in the darkness.

Tiny shards of his existence
scattered into cracks and carpet,
lost until light returns
to reflect brightness into them.

But he is not waiting for the dawn,
not waiting to be put back together.
Slowly the debris settles in,
fading and returning,
like a person trying to hold on to sleep.
He stopped resisting.

And I can’t find him anymore,
not when I walk barefoot
on the kitchen floor,
not when I lie bare backed
on his Persian rug,
looking for the fragments of clear, sharp life
that once built a man.

He has been sucked up, swept up,
dug up, systematically removed.
I never imagined he’d be missed.

“Shard” is previously published in A Scattering of Imperfections (2009).

And now I

Katrina Kaye

steal a moment
under the clutter of
ceiling fan loose
at its screws
and the breeze
from open window
advertising a night
more temperate
than the day
more quiet and
peaceful than the
rumble of mind

I have chosen to settle

I loved nights
like this when I was younger
when I spent little
time indoors and allowed
myself the freedom
and recklessness
I thought was the
promise of life
I am glad I lived it then

nights like this

making out in a car
with the first boy I
fell in love with

walking with blissful
intoxication
through a city street

driving under the stars
just outside the city
limits where the light finally rests

dancing in the dark
as I walked downtown
with someone I barely
knew but trusted completely

I wish I remembered more

I wish I hadn’t spent
so much time looking
toward the next moment
and enjoyed the one in which I swam

I didn’t take it all for granted

how many times
have I had the privilege of
lying with eyes puddled closed
feeling content with what
I have lived
believing there was nothing more
life could gift me

it continues its kindness

and although I am sometimes
clouded with doubt, I too
recognize the love
the ability
the beauty
the full gift of life

I am not one to use the word ‘blessed’
and the word ‘luck’ trivializes the sensation
I am gifted in this life and despite pain,
disappointment, failure, and setback
I have so much

I fill with gratitude
with feelings of having more
than I deserve
what more can I ask
what more is there to attain
these words are a two headed serpent
and cannot translate the race of language or
the fullness of thought clouding my mind

I will not use this moment
to make any grand resolutions
but I will allow the freedom
of heart and mind to find my peace

I am grateful for this moment
with sleeping dog at my side and
mewing cat on the shoulder of couch
the loud crank of the ceiling fan
the breeze of the night through open window  
it does not tempt me to places I have once been

It merely reminds me
of a life I too often lived unexamined

“And now I” is previously published in Saturday’s Sirens (2021).

Dreams

Katrina Kaye

I dismantled my dreams,
boxed them, stacked
my closet shelves.

They grow dusty beside
shoes and short skirts
I don’t wear as often
as I thought I would.

For years these dreams waited,
only to be unwrapped upon occasion
tried on, just to see if they still fit.
But they are not for the keeping.

I am done.

Come to that cold
melancholy realization
that I will never have
the guts to remove the tags.

Instead, I rewrap them,
bestow them, make peace
as I give them to you
one by one.

I don’t give them
as a curse, although
I can attest to the lack
of joy they have brought
time after time. I hope
they will do more for you
than they ever did for me.

I hope they will fit
and you can twirl merrily
to each new step.
These things:
dreams, hopes, love,
the intangible
aspects of myself I wanted
so badly to create,
to keep and harvest.

They are not meant to be.

I know that now.
I release them to another,
no regrets, no goodbyes.

“Dreams” is previously published in You Might Need to Hear This (2021).

Identity

Katrina Kaye

Wings can fold around a broken body
like a mother’s hold, offering calm and comfort,
yet, with white feather and brittle bone,
it is possible to create shadows with jagged edges
against the walls of littered alley ways.

Do we dare fight nature
in order to create our own identity?
Do we become what is expected
instead of spreading wings and creating
a current all out own?

We have become desperate for new names.
we call ourselves rat face, time bomb, clever,
we call ourselves outcast, twisted lip, beast, child,
never what we really are.

Instead of attempting to reinvent the self
shouldn’t we just accept these marks of birth
and scars of experience so distinct upon our presence.
Let them identify our beings like a mother in a mortuary.

How does one surrender wings
that have always marked existence?
How does one become something he is not?

These wings can never truly be clipped,
just sawed down, plucked and carved,
distinction momentarily hidden
destine to grow anew.

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

Lighthouse

Katrina Kaye

Every blink
of your eyes

is a sunrise at sixteen,
when you told me

you loved me
and we watched the

sun eat the black.
Fifteen years later

you cling to me,
and I let you.

With each kiss
I promise

safe harbor,
with each touch

I seek to steer
your path.

I am
no beacon.

I am easily lost
to the night,

unable to guide
ships led astray.

My hands cannot
retain heat,

cannot heal or
offer cure from pain.

Yet, there is
a light in me

that still hopes I can
lead you home.

“Lighthouse” is previously published in Saturday’s Sirens (2021).