The Pier

Katrina K Guarascio

You can see where the old pier
used to be, hundreds of water
warped posts standing at attention
in the shallow water. You can see

how low the tide has receded. They are
lost souls, blackened by time and hard
water, seething salt from tattered torsos.
They watch the beach as if they remembered

the feel of sand between their toes but
they have sulked too long, become one with
the rippling patterns. Strangers forever
separated by five distinctive feet.

“The Pier” is previously published in Chasing Rabbits (2012).

Lifeboat

Katrina K Guarascio

The first time
I held death
in the salt water of lung
hopeful to be pulled
on raft and have air
pressed into chest.

The second time I pushed
under the water.

I let go
knowing full well there was
no point in waiting for a
kind hand.

I will not give
the satisfaction to mourn
death or save life,

not when I can still
keep head above water.

I may have been made
a fool for carrying crosses,
but I earned them.

They keep me afloat.

These storms leave
such peace
in their wake.

“Lifeboat” is previously published in Chasing Rabbits (2012).

Alice

Katrina K Guarascio

little girl
with the
blue dress
acts sad
as she
prances around
the yard

pretending fish
tell tales
and looking-glasses
hold more
than reflections

she stopped
eating
the pink
frosted cookies
when she
found out
they were
the reason
she got
so big

she stopped
digging in
the backyard
after she
realized all
the rabbits
fled their holes

she wishes
her imagination
would take
hold of
her again

instead of
teasing her
with glimpses
into what
might be

if only
she could
fall asleep
a second time

“Alice” is previously published in A Scattering of Imperfection (2009) and More Fire than Sun (2008).

2 things

Katrina K Guarascio

there are
2 things

i
now know
for certain:

i loved
you with
every beat
of my self

&

it did
not matter

 

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

Sun

Katrina K Guarascio

Your world is
absent of light.
Dust reflected in
rare brightness only to
disappear behind
western vista.

Enveloped in gloom,
you watch from thick shadows
the world succumbing to the dim,
you fade
in the dusk.

If I promise
to follow you
into the night,
take your path
away from the sun
and wrap myself
in your darkness,

will you sit with me,
fingers interlaced with my own,
and watch the sun rise?

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

Orchard

Katrina K Guarascio

I’ve passed this place
a thousand times,
but this is the first
I’ve bothered to pluck
fruit from tree and
allow it to squeeze in
my palm. I swat flies
from eyes. They have
a tendency to hover here;
eager for sweetness, they
block my view, twist sight
into kaleidoscope. I have
spent my life resisting
the sugar that sticks between
tiny hairs which litter
my thighs; but now, I
am learning how to cover
my tracks. To slip secret
through yard and wet my lips
on the ripe. I have never
been one for proper manners.
I wade into orchard,
follow the sound of the
records your mother spins
from house. Wail along
to the deep voice which
balloons through the trees.
No one feels hunger in
quite the same way.

“Orchard” is previously published in Chasing Rabbits (2014).

There’s a Girl

Katrina K Guarascio

There’s a girl
at the Route 66 gas station
asking for change.

You don’t have any,
but you offer to buy
her a soda on your credit card
as you pay for a pack of cigarettes
and a cup of coffee.

She is grateful,
says that’s all she really needs.

She’s with her mother,
a tired, silent woman,
grey hair greased to scalp,
sitting on the curb out front.
The old woman never speaks.

This girl has tattoos on her neck,
one by her eye.
Amateur ink scribbled
by shaking hands.

She’s thanks you again,
says she has make up to sell,
nose rings,
other small snatchable items
that seep out of her pocket.

You listen,
you refuse.

She won’t let you leave till you
take a bottle of nail polish
in gratitude.
It’s a color you will never wear.

You know her,
this girl,
with the too thin limbs
and chapped lips.

You almost were her
once.
Asking for change,
grateful for just a kind reply.

You still feel ashamed
for all you had,
that you let slip away.

She asks for a ride.
You lie and say you’re going the other way.
She nods, smiles,
knows where your line sticks.
Your eyes reflect each other
as both recognized the person
you could have become.

“There’s a Girl” is previously published in Chasing Rabbits (2014).

Collapse

Katrina K Guarascio

I had a poem
on my tongue
when I closed
my eyes.

It was stolen
by sleep.

A tiny collapse
of dreams
and empires,
only grand
because of its
destruction.

“Collapse” is previously published in Rabbit for Luck (2016).