While she sleeps,

Katrina Kaye

I watch the clouds gather
outside the bedroom window

the snow is coming

please let the snow come

the hush of the early morning
wraps itself around me
turning my breath to ghost

While she sleeps,
I make coffee
enough for both of us
but I know hers will go cold
before she wakes

when she wakes

if she wakes

I watch the sky
and pray for snow
let coffee bitter the tongue
take in the air
from my lungs

when I woke
I was colder than I have
ever been
I was talking to ghosts
that are still clinging to flesh and blood

When I woke,
I was alone so I stayed
beside her while she slept

across the room

in a blanket and chair

by the window

sipping the coffee and
watching the sky
praying for snow
hoping she wakes soon

so neither of us
will be alone

“While she sleeps,” was previously published in Saturday’s Sirens (2021).

Yellow Bird

Katrina Kaye

You are my
yellow bird,

unnatural companion

to these
winter months.

Yet, I am
the one who

sits fragile
in large hands

terrified of the
strength you

have over me.

“Yellow Bird” is previously published in the collection, my verse…, published by Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC in 2012.

The Perfect Words

Katrina Kaye

Silence is a language
and body movements play
an undecipherable song.

Despite the transparency of eyelashes
and the patience of statues,
the unsaid creates doubt.

Forgive me,
I am unable to think and speak at the
same time. I am unable to travel backwards
and identify the words I should have said,
the perfect words.

I am most insightful when I am silent.

I am not gentle with those that are
most precious to me. If I was,
I would be able to recite the verses
that fill my mouth when our glances meet.

If I was,
I would translate languages
from movement and shades of cheeks.
I would weave words
of gold and trophy. I would
serve security on a silver plate
that never knew tarnish.

Instead
frostbitten hands grope
and feel nothing.
Instead
the marbles in my mouth
choke me silent.

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

Your Cave

Katrina Kaye

I move the stones,
one by one,
to build this place.

Dark,

yet safe and warm,
your cave forms
in my hands.

I place you there,
whisper soft words
to soothe,
tell stories
to comfort.

I know you can’t hear me,
but I hope
somehow
you understand.

I watch the fire dissolve,
and touch the ashes
with trembled fingers.

On the wall,
I draw your image

with sooted hands,

so anyone
who comes knocking
sees the face of beauty
that resides within.

I leave you there,
safe and warm and protected
inside my memory.

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

Kore

Katrina Kaye

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).

Broken Dolls

Katrina Kaye

We are
porcelain dolls
cracked on
floorboards.

White socks
and red ribbons.
Marble eyes
vacantly
comprehending
how we
ended up in pieces
on linoleum.

Arms distort
unable to grasp,
legs contort
unless beneath us.
Curls fall from clips,
rusty coal around
your pale skin.
Plum lip color smears
out of the lines
of your careful grin.

We lean against oven
wondering if we
will ever be
able to walk again,
and theorizing
why good
parties always end
on the kitchen floor.

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