east

Katrina Kaye

You said,

take what
I want
and leave
the key
under the mat.

But as I stand
leaning on
front door frame,

I see
nothing
that belongs
to me.

Instead
I leave the
key in the
door and
walk east
and stare
into rising sun

wondering
how many
steps it will
take to forget
your name.

“east” is previously published in Weasel Press (2022) and Introspection Quarterly (2022)..

Come Back

Katrina Kaye

You looked in the mirror
before you did it. You cut
off all your hair in misshapen
awkward chunks, some spots
clean to your scalp.

You didn’t leave a note, but
two days before you killed
yourself you gave me your
grandmother’s watch,

told me
you never wore the dented heirloom
and it didn’t fit your slim wrists,

said,
it would look better on me.

When I pointed out that it no
longer worked your shrugged and
simply stated, “time is a silly thing.”

I stand at your funeral
consumed by the list of frivolities I
didn’t know about you, overwhelmed
by the uselessness of words and the
futility of remorse, devastated by
the continuance of the ordinary.

The sun rose this morning, but the
winter chills me to the core.
The radio continues to play and I
know all the words to one song
after the other.

Cara, we will never
sing together again. We will never
exchange excuses of why we would
should postpone a date or how it
it is so lovely to be alone.

It has been over
one hundred days and
all I can say is
come back.

“Come back” is previously published in Anvil Tongue (2022).

Apology

Katrina Kaye

I hear the insomnia is back;
that your arms betray you as
they search for the heat
of my body in your bed.

I hear you seek
my scent in your pillows,
strands of hair in your sheets.

But lover,
the only plot we ever shared was rented
in a back room or highway hotel.

I have never been in your bed,
why would you look for me there?

You slept soundly
wrapped in the idea of me,
but the collage
reflected from your eyes
is not the milkweed which hangs on limbs.

I am broken strings,
misread maps,
the insecure song of wind chimes;
I told you before we began.

We were only granules rushing toward
the bottom of hourglass.

I am sorry I didn’t consult you before
pushing ornament to floor,

allowing the shatter before
the sand ran through.

Lover,
I regret the pain I caused you.
The false hope of a finale exclusive
to Hollywood movies and backwood mythologies.

But I do not regret the days we tangled,
the waves of Wednesday wordplay,
our Sunday morning communions.

Those moments, few and foreign,
remain a cracked pocket watch,
too precious to throw away
long after the ticking ceased.

I promised you tissue paper heart,
your name cradled at the base of my neck,
and a tongue that hummed battle hymns;
things never mine to give.

You were just a man,
who wanted to love and be loved in return,

But I,
I wanted to be your champion,
to reshape your dreamscape with bare feet
and an honest smile.

I wanted to be the one to chase the
monsters away.

Never doubt I didn’t burn
for 72 days at your steps before
slicing myself like a cyst from your skin.
We were time bomb;
the inescapable strain of heat to kerosene
paid its toll in endless desert road
and sheets left to chill by winter’s window.

Lover,
we always knew
where this path would wind.
The inevitable was singed
to our tongues upon first kiss.

Yet, you are still dripping from my pen.
How many poems have bared
your twisted thumbprint?

How much more will I write
before I rid myself of this affliction?

To say I love you still
isn’t myth nor gift,
it is merely one of my many sorrows.

I am nobody’s champion.

My hair holds no scent.

“Apology” is previously published in the collection, my verse…, published by Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC in 2012.