Your Chosen Tree

Katrina Kaye

This body is the tall laurel stretched skyward.

These arms flail wildly,
always reaching too far,

serve better as branches to break
the sun from stony earth,
and streak light across your face.

This hair,
the blending of so many leaves

hide spine in the form of autumn,
fall in phases of the year,

change yellow to orange
to brown to dirt.

I cannot be your lover despite clever disguise,
and I am too old to be a flowered bride,
whose petals you stroke and
call your lovely.

Let me be your tree.

I stand well on my own knotted knees,
my posture firm against the winking of eons.

Balance your feet
on my
rigid roots,

stare at my silhouette
blackened against setting sun,
touch battered bark with tentative stroke.

My weathered skin
remembers past affections,
the words carved
into trunk remain there still.

And when I am no longer picturesque
and you no longer call me darling,
I will still hold
in my gathering rings
and sprout blossoms of fruit
to scatter
around you.

When you come,
I’ll be where you left me,
happy to shade your head.

Take this token in place of me.
Be contented to wood and debris,
and regret not
your foolish play with bows and arrows.

“Your Chosen Tree” is previously published in The Fall of a Sparrow (2014).


Katrina Kaye

He leaves a quarter on bed sheets
and say thanks for the Sunday schooling.
She has always preferred curling ears around his tales
to using fingers and tongue to spin her own.

Her hand presses to vacant mattress
searching for remnants of warmth.
He has taken all of summer with him
and despite suggestions she trims her hair
instead of allowing him to weave inside and drag her off.

Solemnity settles in the back of throat.
She spreads her pavement over feet,
solidifying stump to floorboards.

This is her home.

Fastened to this place in patient stubbornness,
she turns lonely as the seasons
pop their joints and reposition their wrists.
The quickening of wind,
slap of branch to window,
yelp of swinging gate,
a collection of relics resembling the way
his legs dart and dash.

There is still a pulse fluttering in neck
that wishes his return.
A chip of bone in inner ear
listening for his knock on the door.
But not all bricks form paths paved in gold,
not everyone is looking to find their way home.

She sinks stagnate,
settled and sliced,
a dissection,
opened up for him to take all he needs,
and leave the rest on beaten trail
to sulk to seeds.

“Hestia” is previously published in They Don’t Make Memories Like That Anymore (2011).

Every Woman

Katrina Kaye

Every woman has
a Persephone story

because every woman
has gone through hell

at least once and many
were put there

by the men who
loved them most.

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