Storm

Katrina K Guarascio

It is not
her fault.
Storms do
what storms do.

What they have
always done.

It was an
under estimation
of her power,
and a stubborn
belief man could
defy gods
that betrayed.

We know better now.

She reminded us
of our frailty,
our mortality,
as all gods must do
from time
to time.

Call it sacrifice,
call it necessary,
but don’t blame her.

Storms only do
what storms do.

“Storm” is previously published in Chasing Rabbits (2016).

Myth

Katrina K Guarascio

In the darkness
I had you.

On vast plains,
in deep caves,
you were there.

We rode bareback
over land that provided
food, drink, and shelter.
What it did not give,
you could.

I waited out the snow
with you in my arms,
surviving off your heat.

And when spring came,
sun baked life back into the earth,
into the people;

I was already there

alive with you.

“Myth” is previously published in The Fall of a Sparrow (2014).

Coyote

Katrina K Guarascio

There is a coyote smeared across the road;
patchy fur in a heap,
blood pools around mangled corpse.

This is on a highway in Texas.

The truck is on its side
three miles from McLean.
I think of the song,

Bye, bye Miss American Pie
drove my Chevy to the levy
but the levy was dry
and them good old boys
drinking whiskey and rye…

The man is thrown at least 10ft,
but it may be farther.
Red horse blanket,
a scattering of clothes from spilt suitcase,
truck stop napkins dancing by the roadside.

There are no paramedics,
just a couple of ER rerun
med degrees holding the body straight.
Two men beat CPR on his bare
chest curled with wiry grey.

But the air is heavy,
thick with freshly departed soul.
As I drive through the meager parade
of on lookers, the world stills.

The flush of the wind flattens,
the rattle of the engine mutes,
bystanders mouths move soundless,
and the song chanting in my mind

singing this will be the day that I die,
this will be the day that I die…

stops.

In a moment of desperation
on the side of the highway in
the middle of nowhere, TX,
no one is breathing.

Not the male body sprawled to the ground
or the people hovering near him,
not the young girl running
or the child hugging his mother’s leg.
No one is breathing.

It is after that I begin to notice
the deer heaped in the median,
necks twisted and torsos thick with bloat,
hooves kicking skyward.
I count three within the five miles
of the crash site.

It is then I see the coyote.
His head thrown back,
patches of brown fur slaughtered red,
white teeth and bone ground to asphalt.

There is a collective understanding
when an innocent death is witnessed.
A universal helplessness
that spreads thick grease and holds
us captive and silent.
There is no dignity in road kill,
There is no beauty in crushed mandible,
no glory in stained hide or shattered hipbone.

It is a whimper,
not a snarl.
It is a turned over pick up,
sprawled belongings.
It is a bent mile marker
and missing reflectors.

Sometimes it’s indiscernible;
all you see is grass and sky and road,
a blind spot on a highway in Texas,
a broken man.

“Coyote” is previously published in September (2014) and as a performance on Youtube from the 2013 ABQ Grand Slam.

14

Katrina K Guarascio

Alone
with you,
I am
14 again.

No,
I never was
that young.

Demure perhaps,
but never
child.

I grew
old over
night.
Skipped
childish
lessons
given to
the young.

But you…

You made me
all eye
lashes
and growling
stomach.

You made me
quick to
tease and
easy to
catch
and completely
in love with you.

In 14 year
old love,
wrapped in
idolatry and
gratitude.

It wasn’t
meant to
last.

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

Kore

Katrina K Guarascio

he changed
my name, mother

he painted my
hair red and left
my skin hidden from
childish strokes
of sun

for three months
I hid in back rooms
knowing full well
the sun was shinning

I found comfort in the
shadow of his kindness
mother,

did you realize
this ripening fruit
was ready to be plucked?

In your absence
I fell from vine

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

Ordinary Grief

Katrina K Guarascio

“How does one commemorate the ordinary?”
~Sherman Alexie
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me

flowers are a start
even if they are cut
even if they
too
will die

after all
we do not want our grief
to outlast its usefulness
the way trinkets and mementos
so often do

grief will outlast
the flowers

but they will serve as
a reminder
the cycle continues
there is always
something changing
in our hearts

from decay
a newness can arise
with love
forgiveness
passing of time

shells soften
by the turn of tides
diamonds eventually
crumble to sand

grief shouldn’t
last forever

take time
commemorate this grief
this ordinary
this everyday
but don’t ask it to remain

like the most resilient of roses
grief too will shed its pedals
and lose its glamour

grief will return to earth

it will erode like fallen leafs
like skin and bones
like love
and
in time
it will be forgotten

“Ordinary Grief” is previously published in Anti-Heroin Chic, December 2018.

Seven of Them

Katrina K Guarascio

‎”…all kisses are metaphors decipherable by allocations of time, circumstance, and understanding…”
~Saul Williams

I

It is not
the first time
a man pressed
lips boldly
against the back
of my hand,
but that quick act,
from a brass jaw
accompanied by
crystal gaze,
caused a blush
from inside out
painting the pink
of vulnerability.

II

On our wedding day,
he took his time,
knowing he had forever.
It wasn’t the kiss
I blew when I rushed
out the door,
or the one he stole when
the late hours
of night crept in.
He could start slow,
lips together before parting,
desire restrained
before release.
It was his hand
on waist,
the curve of fingers
in-between his own.
Not a grip,
but an interweave,
gentle as the
rain leaking from the roof
after the storm.

III

Sitting on the bed
in your hotel room,
you worked all night
to get me there
alone.
I worked all
night to let you.
Safe from peering eyes
with the conversation
drying on our tongues,
you ask,
with the respect of a prayer
for a kiss.
It was a question
I answered hours ago.

IV

Her lips,
the petals of daffodils,
we lacked the grace
of age’s implication
and fumbled foolish,
like children
underwater.

V

I feel the rash
on my face,
a blossom of red where
beard rubbed
sensitive chin
and cheeks.
I imagine my appearance,
like a child eating pie
with hands tied behind back,
cherry filling smeared
left and right.
This is how you reflect
upon my skin.

VI

He thinks she doesn’t
know he’s there,
but she feels
his presence
in the doorway.
She stands
her back to him,
not acknowledging
his stare
as she slips
clothes to floor.
She pretends not
to notice his approach,
until his hand
finds its space upon
bare hip and his
lips caress the
tender top of spine,
she closes her
eyes and exhales.

VII

Part of me knows
it is the last.
It’s why I take
my time,
hovering lips
beside yours,
breathing in your air,
an exchange of vows
or last rites.

 

“Seven of Them” is previously published in Rabbits for Luck (2016).

Shed

Katrina K Guarascio

When I shaved
the skin bloody
on each part of

my body you
ever touched
and the flakes

of dead cells
accumulated,

gathering upon
each other with
the stroke of
worn green towel,

leaving skin
raw and rough,

tender red but
still intact,

that is when
I knew

only time would
shed you.

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

Her Absence

Katrina K Guarascio

I do not regret the days
I spent loving you in her absence.

I do not regret
your tempered touches
as you searched for her skin
under my scales

or the way your eyes reflected
her sharp chin and freckled chest
when they fell on my frame.

I do not regret
the fleeting space we created,
morning gestures
in the folds of sheet and flesh.

Tending your wounds
with tongue and time.

You found solace
with your elbows on my table,
your dirty feet in my bed,
but I knew you would exit
on your own side to look
out the south facing window.

She was ever present
upon the waves of your thoughts.

Your ears keen for her voice,
but I heard it first,
soft as the buzz of bumble bees on the beach
calling you home.

I do not regret
returning to a solitary balcony
above the ocean’s turning point,
or slipping inside my bed,
still warm in your place.

As you kiss my hands
in gratitude of my hospitality,
my kindness,

don’t leave thinking,
I am emptied.

I gave what I wanted,
no more,
no less.

“Her Absence” is previously published in the collection, my verse…, published by Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC in 2012 and Vox Poetica in 2011.

My Mother

Katrina K Guarascio

my mother once told me

through the smoky air of our living room
after a long drag and a long drink

the women in our family have been
known to bring out the worst in men

drink
drag

but there was never one of them
that didn’t regret we were gone

she leaned back and looked at me
took a drag
sort of winked

I think it’s the brown eyes

“my mother” is previously published in the collection, my verse…, published by Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC in 2012 and several other literary magazines from 20 years ago. It is my most published poem.