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).