Katrina Kaye

I do not use my words
like stringed instruments.

They are not plucked
with such distinction.
They are tossed about,
careless as September,

left to crumble under
the heels of black boots,
graying with wear.

Every word is a burden,
a yellowed fleece wrapped
around shoulders crumbling backbone.

Promises undelivered at front door,
lies folded across the lap at dinner table,
a late night seduction no one hears.

I drown in conversation.

How many feet can shove between lips
before the chips and cracks run too deep;
before there is nothing left to repair?

Do I dare attempt
to crush the shells
stacked between teeth?

Do I dare attempt
to mend stretched threads
with the truth hidden in my gut?

Or shall I wait until the tide of time
takes my words from me?

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

August Afternoon

Katrina Kaye

We dance in
the heat of the kitchen.

Van Morrison plays lazily
from the living room,


paper thin sun dress,
void of the undergarments
that would only cause
lines of sweat in already
wrinkled skin,

catching the breeze between
bare legs;


with the grease still in
the creases of your hands,

holy jeans hanging low
on bare waist,

crooked smile plays
on parted lips;

we dance.

You would not take
no for an answer,

would not acknowledge
my casual stumble
over your bare feet,

toes somehow chilled
despite the summer heat.

We sway across kitchen
counters singing along
to every word,

hair sticking to temples,
mouth dry save for
the song on tongue.

You tell me I am
beautiful and, in that
rare delusion of August,

I believe you.

“August Afternoon” is previously published in Wingless Dreamer (2021).