Memory

Katrina Kaye

I memorized your smile
so I can find it every
time I close my eyes to dream.
The wrinkle of lip,
scar of dimple, crack of tooth.

They are with me still.

I memorized the angle of cheekbone,
every cut of skin stretched,
the soft roll of forehead.
I counted each crease embedded.
Every freckle and discoloration,
the squint of eyes and the way
they shine my reflection.

I  know these parts in your absence.

I conjure them still
on the nights when my desire
to be a good woman is broken
by the solitude of my cavity;
on nights when I close my eyes,
and let you enter my mind.

Little girls are not supposed to fall in love
with little girls and despite self taught ambivalence,
your memory lingers. I find myself a scratch
on record, set to repeat. to repeat. to repeat. to repeat.

“Memory” is previously published in #TrueStory 2015.

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).

Mine

Katrina Kaye

you
you are mine

for me

you are the silver
on my fingers

the sweat along
my temples

you are mine

a confidence I don’t
have to share
or confess

a secret
not exactly
hidden
but owned

I have no
lingering value
or clandestine
treasure

there is just
who I am

and you
my gift

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

Orchard

Katrina Kaye

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).

Erosion

Katrina Kaye

My façade is masonry.

Mineral matter
solidified
over supple flesh
of chin and chest.

I have built myself
into marble statue
perpetual in posture.

When you hit gravel,
I was the stepping stone
that supported your climb.
When you couldn’t swim any longer
I was an island to lie upon.

You said I was your rock:
stone held firmly in place,
lacking malleability,
solid under weight bending back.

You said you needed me
to hold you up,
keep free of fierce waters,
and blackened ravines.

You said I am
your stable support,
but my material,
though durable,
lacks permanence.

The smallest stream
cuts through
the hardest of granite
after years of rain.
Mountains weather to remnants,
boulders become sand,
and pebbles playing on the beach
move easily in the
pull and tug of changing tide.

I have not remained picturesque
from years of exposure to your elements.

My exterior is worn, eroded,
and when I crack
there will be no gems to harvest,
just hollow.

The firmer your hold on my splintering surface
the more you will strip me to sediments,
until there
is nothing left
of me
for you.

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