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).


…that this too solid flesh would melt…

Melt, flesh, melt…

Starve cheeks gaunt.
Count vertebrae poking through
an elephant’s ridged back.

Stretch skin around pile of sticks.
Drape clothes on hanger hipbones.

When arms wrap around frame
say how they go right through,
corporeal diminished to ghost.

Melt, flesh, melt…

Let skin prickle with shiver,
bones clink like wind chimes.

Skirt fingers upon skeleton
exposed through dorsal skin.
Body’s topography foreign
under well terrained fingers.

It’s not about sexy anymore.
Not sure it ever was.

Hard to remember the initial
skipped meal of childhood,
running until knees gave to collapse,
the earliest mirror reflection that spat back.

It seems it was always this way.
Hold backbone together
with thin layers of spit and glue.
Skull bobbles on shoulder blades.

Freshman summer of thirteenth year,
a week’s worth of consumption added
to water and orange juice.

On the seventh day,
stomach heaves with the rot of bile.

At nineteen, diet consists of
coffee, ephedrine, cigarettes.

There are no more curves
to define woman over creature.
Feminine forfeits to stick figure
and it isn’t enough.

Melt, flesh, melt…

Keep count.
Constant comparisons:
measurements, lists, graphs,
charting roads which lead to bone yard.

Slip into winter’s shade.
Shortened days make it easy to hide,
stay veiled in the dim.
There is comfort in the buried.

Secure behind barricade,
confined to bed,
no longer know hunger
or hear telephone.
Locked from the inside,
they take the hinges off the door.

Melt, flesh, melt…
Flee this corpse for better.

All I ever wanted,
all I ever wanted,

all I ever wanted,



and bones.

“Melt” is previously published in the collection, my verse…, published by Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC in 2012 and Light as a Feather; an anthology of resilience (2019).


Katrina Kaye

One tied to my
left wrist,

wraps silver around
ring finger,
pulls with
all his might.

He wants to keep
me. Take me away
in a whirlpool of
reckless dreams
doomed to dissipate.

He knows nothing
of the cruelty
of the earth.


The other
strapped herself
to right ankle,

wants nothing
more than my smile,
says she loves me.

I stopped calling
her a liar.

She wants me to walk
on her, wants to be
my road, holds me
firmly to the ground.


I am tied,
pulled in

and have grown tired
of the struggle.

All I want is
to touch
my own skin.

Yet I still
tremble at the
thought of being
let go.

“X” is previously published in September (2014).