The Dead

Katrina Kaye

There is
a hand
on my spine

under water.

I feel
the winkled

into flesh.

It makes
me think
of the years

you pressed me
under your thumb.

All the times
I came
when you called,

eager at your door

only to receive
the scraps
you flung to
impassioned jaws.

Your fingers
never bruised me;

my teeth
never scraped
your hand.

I was held
at arm’s reach

between palm
and fingers

left to
kick and curse,


I have no idea
how to climb
back to the surface.

But I do
how one might
arrive on dry land

only to curse
the sand in
the cracks
between toes.

My patience is
heavy and this
sickness shakes
me to the bone.

I am not the one
to recite a
memoir for the dead,

I am better
at letting go,

allowing the water
to pull me under
and dissolve.

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


Katrina Kaye

I hope for a morning breeze,
cool air against hot skin.
I want to feel the creep,
the bite,

but the air is stiff,
hanging thick and cruel.

I cannot help but wonder at
the slap and kick of destiny.
The way the seasons tricked
me into loosing track of sunrises
and thunder storms.

I became immune to thirst,
the burn of flame to finger,
the squeeze and release of
sunburn on across my back.

The curse of burnt grass under hot sun
doesn’t prick my heel like it once did.

I became somehow clean;
wrapped in white sheets,
tied tight to sunlight.

And yet,
I long for comfort in the still of morning.
Something new and fresh
to chill heated skin.

Summer cooled by open window,
the soft breeze of morning air
slipping in,
letting go.

“Breeze” is previously published in September (2014).


Katrina Kaye

one should not be
too careless with love

when the yellow finch perches
on fingertip, do not flick
her away; do not be crass

thank her for coming
ask her to stay

birds flutter and fly
they shift and peddle
small jerks and shifting eyes

they are not meant to keep still

let her stay
as long as she likes

and allow her the sky
when she chooses to take wing

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