Katrina Kaye

It is only from ash
that new wings can emerge.

The smug of soot
on forehead offers
the cleansing of fresh feathers,
burnt orange against blue eyes.

We are ready to ride onward,
watch the slouch
of Bethlehem’s beast
and feel the curve of shoulders
as they hover
over the clouds of
yesterday’s thunderstorm.

The flash of lightning
stuck us to dirt,
so let us flare like red bird,
let us track skies uncharted and
rip apart
dark formations that blot out sky.

Let the innards leak,
release the flood and from the muck
watch creature birthed.

A second coming
hidden by the thick
of afternoon storm clouds,
casting shadows
on the tragedy of
yesterdays too clearly

Let the past burn away,
let it pierce, cloud over, rip open.
Watch the carnage
a little a fire
can do when you stop
paying attention to the
change in temperature.

It is a only a matter of time
before wings once again open to sun.

“Phoenix” is previously published in The Fall of a Sparrow (2014) by Swimming with Elephants Publications and The Legendary Issue 39,

Dear Mother

Katrina Kaye

Do you remember the time
they put the caution sign in our front yard?
A response to the speed bumps
installed on our road in early July.
Bright yellow, diamond warning:
Caution: Speed Humps Ahead.

We laid eyes on it,
exchange no words, yet
immediately decided
it had to go.

We didn’t file a complaint to the city,
didn’t make phone calls or ask any questions,
We didn’t even bother waiting for dark,
but immediately sized wrench to nut
and unscrewed the metal tower.

I lowered the sign to the ground
as you removed the bolt,
it slid easily free.
Too easy.

It was large and heavy,
but I was strong then and I carried it alone,
placing it effortlessly into the bed of the truck.
Back when you had the Chevy, remember?

I returned to find you staring down at
grated metal sunk deep in the earth.
“What about this?” you said, kicking the stump.
“I suppose we could just cover it up.”

I gripped the protrusion firmly
with bare hands and loosened it

Like Excalibur for stone,
the metal post unsheathed from earth.
“That’s my girl,” you said and filled the
small square hole with rocks,
as though it had never been there.

We waited until dark to drop the sign off.
I directed you to a discreet dumpster
behind my old elementary school.
It was the same spot I would deposit
trash bags of beer cans
after high school parties
so you wouldn’t find them when you came home.

You kept the motor running
as I jumped into the bed of the truck
and stealthy lowered large metal sign
into the near empty dumpster.

We toasted our accomplishment at the local pub,
fearless of repercussions.

Do you remember it mother?
Two women in our wild state,
defending our homestead
while the men slept,
no attempt at apology,
daring them with set jawbones
to strike again?

we were feral then,
we broke up bar fights,
arm wrestled the boys,
and buried our own.

Stood our ground
joined our powers
enacted rebellion.
And now,
I hear your words spray
through my lips.

I have finally mastered your tone
for better or for worse.
I channel your strength through
my veins and I am proud, Mother,
proud and so very grateful.

“Dear Mother” is previously published in La Palabra: The Word is a Woman, Mother and Daughters (2014) and The Last Leaves Literary Magazine (Spring 2022).

We Are Not

Katrina Kaye

We are not architects.

We are incapable of designing even
the most rudimentary of concepts.
We are not ranch style homes
with islands in our kitchens,
shiny steel pots hanging from hooks.

We are not adults when we are together,
We are not day jobs and early nights.
We are not rational.

We are not quarterly clocks
or forgotten promises,
we are not clean slates.

We are not Christmas traditions
or dinner table arguments.

We are not first loves.

We will never be that old couple on the beach
watching the sea.

We are not pegged legged or one armed,
and although capable of swinging,
we do not always land on our feet.
We will never be lawn mowers or garden tenders.

We will never be teddy bears or multicolored legos.
We are too old to be children.
We are not competent with building blocks.

We are not good liars,
we are not without the burden of guilt
and the expectation of consequence.

We will never be nuclear.

We will never be suits and formal wear
We are not made of plastic,
our colors run,
our sides bend.

We are not indestructible.
We are merely chemical.
The reactions of our exchanges
through touch send easy fever.

We are not poetry.
We are not romance novels.

We are instruction manuals
and wings pieced together
from the remnants of kites.

I don’t know what we are.
When I ask you,
you can only tell me who I am.
You can only say how you feel.
There is no we.

Dare I say
we are holding each other in the dark.
That we are not thinking about tomorrow,
but counting this moment for all it is.
Dare I say all we are is right now.

“We Are Not” is previously published in Saturday’s Sirens (2021).