Dulcinea

Katrina Kaye

“Those who have been told the truth
should not be taken for those
who have been scorned.”

The first time I liked
the sound of my name
it fell from your crooked lips.

Seemingly foreign,
yet easily interwoven into
ringlets framing my perception.

You speak each syllable sunshine
mixed with the awkwardness of the moon,
reflecting brilliance no matter the cadence.

For a fleeting moment,
in the melody of the occasion,
I too am fooled.

I see myself birthed from clam shell,
goddess gripping bow and arrow,
my words woven into golden strings.

You tricked me.
It isn’t just your sycophantic words
and slips of tongue.

It is in the way I see my reflection,
the shine of myself mirrored in your clouded eyes,
a strange smile readily returned.

The name you give me,
a gift,
more beautiful than I can ever be.

“Dulcinea” is previously published in Fevers of the Mind (2021).

August Afternoon

Katrina Kaye

We dance in
the heat of the kitchen.

Van Morrison plays lazily
from the living room,

me,

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;

you,

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).

The Ocean and the Jungle

Katrina Kaye

This is not the first time
we radiate across the same room.
Not the first time,
I glance up only to notice your eye
chasing mine,
the same twist on both our lips
as though we share the joke.

The space of a whisper
separates our bodies,
yet I never dared
to reach for your dock,
to set my flag upon your beach.

I thought perhaps your
breath blew me back.
Now I realize,
I am sea,
you, land.
But you are no coastline.

My fingers will never lap
gently upon your shore.
You are jungle,
Amazon, Congo, Daintree.
Mile upon mile
of thick brush and green vines,
overgrown,
seeping into walls,
encompassing territory,
claiming continents as your own,
thousands of miles from my reach.
You are the green eyed leopard
stalking the shadows;
the camouflage anaconda
coiled on the limb.
You creep,
believing to be veiled in obscurity.

I am Ocean.
Spreading identity around earth,
oblivious to entrapment of soil and rock.
I am Charydbis
twisting mass to watery grave,
dark waves, white capped,
unblinking eyes,
over three rows of teeth.
I am Tsunami,
uninhibited in my aggression,
not afraid to throw myself at your coast.
Refusing to accept you are beyond reach.

On the new moon,
my tide rises into atmosphere
and parts of myself,
in the guise of drizzles and drops,
slip inside you.
Sideways glances and lingering breaths,
storm your deepest ravines,
providing small
suggestions of my body
dripping over your outstretched palms.

You feast on me,
ravishing, consuming,
taking what you need to strive,
then you drain me out
and send me running home.
In lingering humidity,
you wait
for me to fall on you again.

I used to wonder why
I could only surround your mass
and never truly entwine you.
Now I know,
we have already bathed in each other
for a life time.

 

“The Ocean and the Jungle” is previously published in They Don’t Make Memories like that Anymore (2011).