I come to you

Katrina Kaye

I come to you
warm and bleeding.
Raw and unbleached.

A slice across Achilles tendon,
unfelt shave of skin
that gushes ripe,
and drips footprints across
your Persian rug.
An invitation to follow.

I come with tact in hand,
spotting handshake,
staining interwoven lifelines.
The kindness presented to me
stabbed through palm.

In anticipation of your cold hands
and medicinal lips,
I offer a sun burn across my thighs.
A collection of rain drops
held tight in Mason jar.

I bring rose gardens
guarded by chain link fence
and two rows of razor wire,

an empty bottle
with my lipstick on the neck,
a cloche spouting sparrow feathers,
a jockey’s whip,
and an ex lover’s name
tattooed on skin that has
never seen the heat of flame.

You never ask where I’ve been;

You tend scratches,
recite a romance of battle
with gravel in your throat.
Show me two broken ribs,
and a bootleg audio of a concert
I was too drunk to remember.

You reciprocate generosity
with lean strokes of your stare
across my worse for wear face,

and whisper how my split nails,
calloused heels, and reckless speech
made you a better man.

“I come to you” is previously published in The Fall of a Sparrow (2014).

The Funeral

Katrina Kaye

I know better than to wear mascara
to a funeral. I have no shame in
the tears rolling down my cheeks.
My chin remains level, eyes wide.
I brush streaks aside with open palm,
the flat of thumb. I don’t need
the comfort of cloth. I am soured by
the eyes of the saints. They hang from
wood and window trying not to show
us their wounds, yet the blood drips from
crosses over our heads. I am no longer
a child.

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

Photograph

Katrina Kaye

We were captured
black and white,
careless grins
flyaway hair,
back when it was easy
to love
only each other.

Strange how pure
a photograph can be.

If that picture wasn’t
black and white
it would showcase your hair,
red orange
like phoenix feathers,

the straps of green dress
emerald against skin
too white to have ever been
stroked by sunlight.

Instead of all those shades of grey,
you would have been
bright, star shine;
the amber of eyes,
reckless flecks of gold
against locks of flame
surrounding temples;
painted red lips
upon raw teeth
creating a smile too big
to hide the laughter
brimming from throat.

I can’t help but think of the face
I left there.
Smeared smile in
black and white.

The way you looked at me.
The moment
cut
captured.

I was oblivious of your
lashes and longing.
Helpless to the inevitable
fading of photographs.

You were crafted to sparkle.
I was too blinded by
your brilliance to notice
your eyes
only for me.

“Photograph” is previously published in The fall of a Sparrow (2014).

Fish

Katrina Kaye

You beg.

Flip around
dry earth,
crunch up
stretch out.

Your eyes
swim
screams.

Large,
unblinking,
desperate to
understand.

I watch
sore and silent.
Knowing how
touch is
foil to freedom.

My darling,
please breach
the soil
of the solid
and return
to river bed.
And when you do,
take me with you.

We all ache
for rescue.
Easily confused by
the comfort of
trembling hands.

I too
am often
left to dry
on sun cracked rocks
skinned of scales
left to my bones.

You are not
the only one.

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