Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Selected Works, Katrina Kaye

 Seventeen Years

In my dream you were alive.

I saw you:
a broken man with
crooked smile telling me
it’s been seventeen years.
You’ve been looking for me for
seventeen years. You’ve been
in love with me for seventeen

It’s been seventeen years since
your spine cracked upon impact.
It was just one of those things
that happen, an accident.
No one’s fault; No one
to shoulder the blame.

In my dream, I look for the book
you gave me, the only thing
you ever gave me, hungry for a signature
scrawled on the first page. Your j’s look
like g’s  in fast black ink.

It has been seventeen years since we
raced the halls together. A good kid
who smiled too much. A chip of broken tile
and notes passed by girls. You never should
have become a name smeared to highway.
Never should have been anything more than
a fond memory, a high school crush, a missed

Now, you survive in the pit of my stomach,
and despite a promise of pleasant reminiscence,
the dream shifts to the crack of skeleton,

the shattering of front tooth. I can’t trade this image
for a kinder one. It haunts me.
It haunts me still.

More than anything in the world, I
want to find you, to call you,
to write you a message in my
sloppy script assuring you
some things never die. But
you are already lost to me.

This is how I wake, chasing
rabbits and following sparrows. At
a loss for what I cannot quite
reach. You were always the illusive
one. So I lay here and I endure and
it is as sweet as the Sunday morning
we never shared.

Walking Dead

Burn it down.
Salt the earth.
Don’t let darkness rise.

Six feet in hallowed soil,
a crucifix,
a blessing,
should keep him.
Yet you still feel
his grip on spine
and your face
still radiates
the heat of his hand.

Not everything dead
stays in the ground.

Earth shakes,
dirt recedes,
and light of a full moon
can illuminate his rise.
He creeps in shadow,
circles corners of room,
hides behind recycled picture frames,
lurks inside a closet
half emptied.

You still feel him.
You flinch at sharp words,
loud noises.
You leave the lights on,
wake with a start when a car speeds by.
Some nights you shiver
as through still expecting
the turn and slap of front door
and warm tequila breath
on your neck.

Let the ground be sanctified.
Keep flowers on stone,
hands wrapped in prayer,
and when he creeps near your door
don’t invite him in.
Let pictures wilt,
flowers gather dust,
turn to ash.
Stake demons in the back.
Shake the curse
like excessive water,
and move out of shadow.

Take heed. Take care.
Fire. Salt.
Renew. Repeat.
Because you know,
not everything buried stays underground,
and a bullet squeezed through temple
can’t always keep the dead,

Looking for You

Under the waves,
I burrow




safe under the weight of sand.

Content here,
holding on to you.
I envelop in cool earth
next to your crumbled bones.

ignorant to the creep of sun,
pulling tide back to
reveal barren beach.

Nothing survives here.

I try to stay entombed
but I am stripped,
forced to surface,
to wake,
gasp for air.

The afternoon sun bleaches
bones and burns flesh.

I know you remain
although you hide well
among the waves,

turning in and out
with the swing of moon.

I still dig,
separate the damp sand
with bowed palms

trying to find a soft spot
below the shallow
to cup and curl into you.

Come Back

You looked in the mirror
before you did it. You cut
off all your hair in misshapen
awkward chunks, some spots
clean to your scalp.

You didn’t leave a note, but
two days before you killed
yourself you gave me your
grandmother’s watch, told me
you never wore the dented heirloom
and it didn’t fit your slim wrists,
said, it would look better on me.
When I pointed out that it no
longer worked your shrugged and
said simply, “time is a silly thing.”

I stand at your funeral
consumed by the list of things I
didn’t know about you, overwhelmed
by the uselessness of words and the
futility of remorse, devastated by
the continuance of the ordinary.

The sun rose this morning and the
winter still chills me to the core.
The radio continues to play and I
still know all the words to one song
after the other. Amanda, we will never
sing together again. We will never
exchange excuses of why we would rather
be alone. Amanda, it has been over
one hundred days and all I can say is come back.


if the storm did come,
i fear my first
instinct would be
to walk to the apex
bold and frenzied

my streets have been
dry for too long
leaving me desperate
to stand in the rain

i would trade my sight
for the scent of distant

my taste for the prickle
of hair twirled
in every direction.

i have prayed
for destruction.

but what do i know?

my mother was never
ripped into the sky
by unruly clouds,
my house never blown
down despite the coyotes
that surround back door
i have never wakened
to shattered glass
underneath my morning feet.

why should i distress of the
wrath of weather when my
New Mexican sky is endless blue
my sun bright enough i see
only red in the darkness.

i want the storm,
the wind, the water,
i want to be ravaged by the
wrath of unkind gods.

i know this wish
may not be kind

threats of storms ravage
those who prefer to hold tight
to rock and earth
and toss bodies
like crumpled paper
hoping to cling
on to abandoned words.

i have not felt
that windfall, and
i do not seek to
inhabit the pain
of the others

but i can’t
help but to search the sky for
gathering clouds and sit pale in the
wind hoping for the sky to crack.

Katrina Kaye is a writer and educator living in Albuquerque, NM. She is seeking an audience for her ever-growing surplus of poetic meanderings. She hoards her published writing on her website: ironandsulfur.com. She is grateful to anyone who reads her work and in awe of those willing to share it. 


  1. Wow! You capture the many kinds of grief so well.
    The second poem made me think of Daddy by Sylvia Plath.
    The first poem, made me think of my Dad. It's been 9 years but he's still alive in my dreams. it's always nice to see him again.
    Thank you for sharing these poems/

  2. Very strong poems with touchingly haunted metaphors. The poems are independent yet connected, as if persona is struggling to deal with same themes through different lenses. Especially loved Walking Dead. Strong work, thanks for sharing. Dee Cohen