Bus Station

Katrina Kaye

A little after ten thirty,
we sit at the bus station.

My leg thrown over yours,
head rests on shoulder,
your arm around me,
absently caressing my shoulder
as though a lifelong habit.

The ice of your eyes bites my lower lip as
you tell me where the wild things are
in a cadence so calm it stirs my soul.
I tire of hiding my insides
from my out.

I crawl inside you then,
build a home from the bones of your rib cage,
a bed out of cartilage that marked sternum,
pillow from soft tissue between vertebrae,
I fall asleep against the rhythm of your heart.

I leave a piece of myself there.

A little before eleven you collect yourself
and join the crowd surrounding the departing door.

Without a second thought
I give you my last cigarette,
a kiss for the road,
and a handful carefully chosen words.
A shared serene convergence
before the road drags you away.


“Bus Station” is previously published in The Fall of a Sparrow (2014) by Swimming with Elephants Publications, Down in the Dirt January 2012, and After the Apocalypse 2013 Literary Datebook.


Katrina Kaye

He went to catch sparrows.
Carrying a battered birdhouse
and salted sunflower seed,
he climbed through broken barricades
with the confidence only a four year old can possess.

Using his forearm,
he pushed blonde fluff from his eyes
and peered up into stinging sunlight,
trying to catch a glimpse
of flapping wings against electric wires.

He didn’t bring home any sparrows.

Four days later,
against a concrete wall in a back alley
frequented by strays and vagrants,
you stumbled upon the tiny broken boy.

Sweet faced,
lips a bright pink,
cheeks a porcelain blue,
he looked as though he was ready
to wake for another day of play,
but when you reached to rouse him–

I remember the feel of his skin.
I expected him to be made of glass
like some doll dressed in blue.
I expected him to be warm.

Years later,
the memory spills from sleep.

Twelve years old.
Alone in a sullied alley contaminated
with rusted cans, weeds, dog shit, food wrappers.
The echoing of October wind
or was it flapping wings.

when I close my eyes,
I recall the blue of cheeks
and a slight taste of metal in my mouth.

“Sparrows” is previously published in The Fall of the Sparrow (2014).