The Ocean and the Jungle

Katrina Kaye

This is not the first time
we radiate across the same room.
Not the first time,
I glance up only to notice your eye
chasing mine,
the same twist on both our lips
as though we share the joke.

The space of a whisper
separates our bodies,
yet I never dared
to reach for your dock,
to set my flag upon your beach.

I thought perhaps your
breath blew me back.
Now I realize,
I am sea,
you, land.
But you are no coastline.

My fingers will never lap
gently upon your shore.
You are jungle,
Amazon, Congo, Daintree.
Mile upon mile
of thick brush and green vines,
overgrown,
seeping into walls,
encompassing territory,
claiming continents as your own,
thousands of miles from my reach.
You are the green eyed leopard
stalking the shadows;
the camouflage anaconda
coiled on the limb.
You creep,
believing to be veiled in obscurity.

I am Ocean.
Spreading identity around earth,
oblivious to entrapment of soil and rock.
I am Charydbis
twisting mass to watery grave,
dark waves, white capped,
unblinking eyes,
over three rows of teeth.
I am Tsunami,
uninhibited in my aggression,
not afraid to throw myself at your coast.
Refusing to accept you are beyond reach.

On the new moon,
my tide rises into atmosphere
and parts of myself,
in the guise of drizzles and drops,
slip inside you.
Sideways glances and lingering breaths,
storm your deepest ravines,
providing small
suggestions of my body
dripping over your outstretched palms.

You feast on me,
ravishing, consuming,
taking what you need to strive,
then you drain me out
and send me running home.
In lingering humidity,
you wait
for me to fall on you again.

I used to wonder why
I could only surround your mass
and never truly entwine you.
Now I know,
we have already bathed in each other
for a life time.

 

“The Ocean and the Jungle” is previously published in They Don’t Make Memories like that Anymore (2011).

Come Back

Katrina Kaye

You looked in the mirror
before you did it. You cut
off all your hair in misshapen
awkward chunks, some spots
clean to your scalp.

You didn’t leave a note, but
two days before you killed
yourself you gave me your
grandmother’s watch,

told me
you never wore the dented heirloom
and it didn’t fit your slim wrists,

said,
it would look better on me.

When I pointed out that it no
longer worked your shrugged and
simply stated, “time is a silly thing.”

I stand at your funeral
consumed by the list of frivolities I
didn’t know about you, overwhelmed
by the uselessness of words and the
futility of remorse, devastated by
the continuance of the ordinary.

The sun rose this morning, but the
winter chills me to the core.
The radio continues to play and I
know all the words to one song
after the other.

Cara, we will never
sing together again. We will never
exchange excuses of why we would
should postpone a date or how it
it is so lovely to be alone.

It has been over
one hundred days and
all I can say is
come back.

“Come back” is previously published in Anvil Tongue (2022).

A Warning

Katrina Kaye

when you get older,

the words go.

they slip,

scatter,

strip from pen and page

stick in mouth,

in throat,

in mind.

they float,

flimsy as silk ribbons,

and frustrate the mind.

when you get older,

much rots.

the knees

crackle and pop,

the back

sways and scoops,

wrists stiffen.

callous thickens,

heels crack

in the cold.

if there

is not a pen

for your arthritic

hands to curl around,

you may never

hold one again.

if you don’t repeat

the words,

you forget how to

pronounce them.

forget what they mean.

cling to the words,

before they slip,

like silk ribbons,

from your grasp.

“A Warning” is previously published in They Don’t Make Memories like That Anymore …(2011).