Come as You Are

Katrina Kaye

Navigate using the sun like a compass.

Find direction
on the cloudiest days
beaconed in violent sky.

At the door,
your tattered skin,
broken body.

Know there is still a place for you,
this brood still recognizes you by scent.

Find home here.

We end up hip to hip at this table,
sharing bread from the same bowl.

I wrap ears around your revelations,
let thumb prints sink into your mind
until you realize this is where you belong.

One of my kind:
not a gentleman,
not a tramp.
A misfit finding comfort
in your familiars.
Twisted words tell terrible tales,
split lips
I could have molded
from my own reflection.

Our breed may have been
separated in infancy by
high water and strong winds,
but we were born to the same tribe,
our mouths cradle the same tongue.

Distance cannot eclipse bonds.
Legacy cannot be hidden in straps of time.

Come as you are,
you are welcome here.

“Come as You Are” is previously published in The Fall of a Sparrow (2014).

In Your Car at 4am on a Thursday night

Katrina Kaye

The awkwardness of the steering
wheel presses against thighs
as if to balance the round world
between my legs. You were shy smiles
and lowered eyes and I, in the brave
cover of darkness, looked at you longer
when you were looking away.

We were riding crashing waves,
horses stomping though shoreline,
sand left upturned,
and it was no secret
I liked your hand on my knee.

Windows slowly mist with
the heat of conversation,
tongues slip fast over sermons.
At some point we forgot how to breathe.
We were already removed from the pack,
paired off, claimed.

There was no future
on that downtown street,
Only moment, only want,
and the knowledge of your
middle name meant
everything to me.

I want to feel that again
the surge of emotion,
a force of transcendence,
strength, freedom.

I grew past parked cars in empty lots.
Arms no longer tempt, only secure,
hold down, hold back.
I may have stopped curling my toes for you
but there is still a rip torn into lifeline.

A memory healed over,
but a scar remains.

To be child again,
to bleed abandon and
release quickening howl,
in your car, enraptured
all over you.

“In your car at 4 am on a Thursday night” is previously published in Bombfire Literary Magazine (2021).

Wind

Katrina Kaye

She has no
secrets from
the wind.

What she
buries in
layers and
crude wraps

is revealed
in the thick
lick of his
crooked tongue.

She is statue
hollowed inside,
broken like ribs,
crushed to powder
until there is nothing left.

The wind takes
the rest.

“Wind” is previously published in Rigorous (2021).