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).

No Longer

Katrina Kaye

I do not see ghosts anymore
but they are still here.
I watch them in the sparrows
I no longer have the inclination
to chase. I feel them in the music
I no longer have the patience
to memorize. I  dance with them,
but no longer remember when first
I learned the steps; I listen to their
words, though I no longer speak
their native tongue. I hear them in the drip
of the faucet late at night, the creak
of the floorboards as I pass through.
I can still feel them within this home,
these walls, this air. They remain.
The one constant I know.

“No Longer” is previously published in Rabbits for Luck (2016).

Melquiades and Loretta

Katrina Kaye

He outlived her by twenty-three years,
yet they remain nestled together in the earth.

I can’t help but wonder if he spent
those years alone, stuck in a daughter’s
kitchen with obnoxious grandchildren
and great-grandchildren weaving around
his knobbed knees and kitchen table.

I wonder if he had other lovers,
later in life, the kind that meet late
at movies or intertwine hands on park
benches, secret affairs he kept from
controlling daughter.

Did he tell Loretta his secrets?
Ask her for forgiveness?
Come to grey marker after Sunday mass
to confess the sins he held in his heart?

Did he talk about her on the last days,
walk an 84-year-old crooked gait,
mistake the silhouette of his daughter
over the kitchen sink as long
departed wife?

Did he call her her mother’s name
without even realizing the mistake
and did he wake to a daughter’s sharp glance
before walking back to the porch to slump
on front bench in final silence?

“Melquiades and Loretta” is previously published in Graveyard Collection (2015).

Bird

Katrina Kaye

I would love
to catch you
for a moment,

like an
inconsequential lie,
a fallen bird
I can teach again to fly,

and when you are
basking in your own sun,
send me a postcard
of the life you’ve won.

With scrawled note
telling me
you don’t need me anymore.

With scrawled signature
saying
Thank you.

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

A Letter to Myself at 16

Katrina Kaye

It feels like Friday,
but it has really only just begun.

And it’s gonna get worse.

There are going to be days
when you will scream at the walls,
when you will lie on the cold tile of bathroom floors
begging for the world to shrug from its atlas.

There are going to be nights so pitch
your face will ripple rage
and you will plead the moon for sacrifice,
to take all that you are.

But the moon won’t.

Precious lives will rip untimely from your arms
leaving you grasping at sunflowers in November.

More painful though,
are the ones you leave behind.

Right now,
you think you can save the world,
repair the cracks they carved into themselves,
You believe you have the thread to mend the lost
like broken kites and make them fly,
but one day you’ll realize
the only person you can save is yourself.

And you will,
you’ll save yourself.

You’re going to walk out of the darkest caverns
on sturdy feet without a guide,
and you’re going to leave behind the insects;
the ones who spun sticky webs of regret.
They will not have you.

Child,
you will not always be this angry.
The fists you pump against the night sky will tire.
You will realize
you have nothing to prove.

You will emerge from the storm,
though it may leave you gasping,
beaten, clinging,
you will survive,
and panting on the shore of battered beach
you will rise.

Mingled in the moments of bleak,
emerge utter joy and peace.
You will wake up beside it on a September morning,
and spend the night laughing
and singing with it around bonfires.
You’ll have lovers and friends
and fleeting moment when you feel truly alive
and it will be worth it.

You will know contentment.

Your jeans may still have holes in the knees,
and you will continue to feel too much
and give too much of yourself.
There will be plenty of moments when
you will still pray for the eventual apocalypse.

But evolution does have a course.
You’ll quit smoking,
several times.
You’ll form creases around your lips
and webs around your eyes,
some from laughter,
others from grimace.
Wisdom will come in the form of clever phrases,
and patience will embed itself into your heart.

You don’t know what it means
to truly love another person right now,
but you will,
and someday you will also know how to give that love freely, without bounds.

And yes, darlin’,
though it may take you kicking and screaming,
you will shed this adolescent skin,
you will grow up.

It may be scary at first,
but you will realize, it’s alright.
There is a person you are meant to be.

One day the scars will heal
and you will replace them with garlands of orange daisies.
There is gonna be someone who thinks the heavens of you
for nothing more than exactly what you are,
the person you came to be.

One day,
you will stand solitary in the barren desert
but no longer feel alone.

One day
you will look in the mirror and accept your smile,
recite poetry instead of curse words,
find the beauty of tattered dandelions
and the pure tragedy of perfection.
You will no longer be ashamed of your reflection.

One day, you will stop hating yourself.
It’s gonna take a while,
so hold on;

You will get there.

“A Letter to Myself at 16” is previously published in September (2014).

Storm

Katrina Kaye

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).