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).

what we brought

Katrina Kaye

The moon’s calm broke,

spilling elusive shades
over the sky’s backdrop.

I remember how we hurried.
Skirted over rocks and rivers,

caught butterflies in our teeth
and squeezed grasshoppers in our toes.

It was minutes till sunrise,

when the world was at its blackest.
We were enveloped,

just the two of us,
stolen from the wake of the world.

With slippery fingers

we climbed the crevasse,
hoping arms would not give out

demanding our gasps and split fingernails
lift us just a little bit higher.

Upon the apex,
we watched rising mist
begin to sink beneath the orange glare
of a breaking sun.

It was the first time you told me
you loved me.

We sat at the edge of the world,

hanging our feet off granite ledge
and tried to touch the surreal with

impulsive fingers still flecked
with green and bits of insect.

“What we brought” is previously published in The Fall of a Sparrow (2014).

Childhood

Katrina Kaye

Forearms reflect scratches
from childhood tree:

a celebration of skin
still unscathed by the
sting of antiseptic.

The skyline bleeds burgundy
as the sun sighs.

These fire kisses spot the surface
of most precious underbelly,
soft and freckled,

beneath iridescent hues
of motley leaves.

With the voice of a child
fading from my throat,

I ask you how much longer
for pink to flush and fade?
How many eons for cells to gather
upon each other and repair?

I pray for enough
waning light to once again
stretch to tree branch,

gather strength in formative muscles
and pull skyward.

Stars infiltrate the fire in gut,
leaving sky sulking to pitch.

The scratch and bite of brittle bark
recedes to tender touch as I
abandon branches for the
balance of arms.

“Childhood” is previously published in The Fall of a Sparrow (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).

Home

Katrina Kaye

I look for you the way I always have.

Listen to your voice
sing incantations of my youth,

eager to hear news of your religion
in the cadence mucked in the back of throat.

They lost you in the backyard.
Misplaced your skull,
body deteriorated into earth.

I miss the way you wrap around me.
A feeling thick as a childhood home,
a place where awkward flows a little more free
and body moves in familiarity.

You spoke of it.

I’ve given up on a search for home.

I focus on climbing your tree.
Washing the smell of your cigarettes from my pillows.
Stretching upwards in long clean arcs
hoping you will feel the tops of my out-stretched fingers.

The imprint of you:
a hollow through the center of me,
only cured by the scent of you in my kitchen,
and the radiation of your body as it sits
three feet from mine.

I search for your bones in my garden,
mud caked and brittle,
hopeful there may be a piece of you there:

a shard I can wear on a string
proudly around my neck,

your souvenir on my chest,

and when people ask,
I’ll say it reminds me of home.

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