How to Love a Ghost

Katrina Kaye

Sleep in his old t-shirt
savoring the scent trapped inside thread and collar.
Mimic the sound of shutting doors
slapping goodbye.

Play a melody of afternoon thunderstorms
and chase the scent of rain
through the house.

Refuse to release what has passed
from mind and motion,
bite lower lip to keep words
from falling out.

Flick ash to pavement,
bare feet to sidewalk,
leave a trail from the rubble
that built a favorite mythology.

Find a boy at the bar with the same shade of eyes
and a smile kind enough to resurrect the past.
Sing all the words to Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” in his ear
in a slow dance to last call.

Stare into eyes a little too long,
listen to stories with too much thirst for truths.

Tell him he reminds you of someone you used to know.
Show him the peaceful side of your nature,
the sleepless side of your soul.

Walk across the broken glass of beer bottles
to nudge him awake,
replace missing pages about last night
over a breakfast where you
laugh too loud to be in public,
still drunk from one another.

When he leaves
thank him for wearing the skin of memory
and gifting the kindness of patience.
Do not kiss him goodbye.

Reclaim evening habits,
curled in tattered wool sweater,
beer and cigarette,
tangled in all the parts of what once was.

Watch in solitude as the full moon creeps across the sky
and breathe in all that has come to pass.

“How to Love a Ghost” was previously published on the blog Truck : n. a self-propelled vehicle for carrying goods, by Larry Goodell.

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).

10 Things I Never Told You Because I Knew Better

Katrina Kaye

1) You hurt me.
Perhaps it was pride
or a small bruise on
left ventricle, but
sometimes when I take
a deep breath, I still
feel the sting.

2) I never believed
the stories your sold
to my patient ear. I
only heard the harsh
words and the criticism
you spat at my face.
Those are the only words
I really remember.

3) I liked the way
you kissed my forehead
when I rested beside you.

4) You reputation proceeded
you. It was my own faulty
wiring that placed my hand
on your door. I always knew
what I would find.

5) The first time we had
sex was awkward and disappointing.

6) The second time we had
sex, you said I made you
anxious which is why you went
flaccid to my touch. I don’t
know if you lied
for my pride or yours.

7) It was wrong the way
you lead me to believe
you genuinely cared for me.

8) Even to this day,
I still like when you
smile at me. Despite it
all, I smile back.

9) Even if we did exist
in some alternate universe,
we would never fit together.

10) I forgive you.
I forgive myself.

“10 Things I Never Told You Because I Knew Better” is previously published in Rabbits for Luck (2016).