Father Allow a streak of light from single bulb hallway to lay across the floor. Remind me, in this mild action, there are heroes in the world, not every act is based on the selfish hunger of men. On nights like this the rocks of the world lay heavy on my spine, pinning me to an earth I have no desire to inherit. It is why I am well versed in the tongue of loneliness. I am most concrete wrapped in solitude. Let me hear the voices down the hall. The influx in cadence regardless of meaning, the occasional laugh. I am again five years old asleep in a stranger’s house feeling no desire to resume the party but comforted to know it continues. Leave the door cracked, just enough, so I’ll know when the house rings silent, when the hall light finally dims that I am completely alone. Reminding When I met you, I fell in love with flying, with candle light, open windows. From the safety of your late lit bedroom, I watched rain as it ate the earth, leaving soft teeth marks in the dirt of your gardens. I hear the moths come every seven years, but sometimes it seems like they are always here, flittering against door frame in praise of porch light. We don’t always forget the way we are supposed to, nor do we remember the way the seasons would like us to believe. I crawled upon your hand on fine legs, wing brushing palm, steadying myself as you peered through the brown spots on my wings. You did not crush me or push me away. Details blur and the edges of film burn through so all one sees are big moments, not days shifted in between. My wings against your open hand; you let me stay as long as I needed, did not protest when I took again to the air. I don’t remember exact words, but I have not forgotten your face. I can’t remember why I loved you but I can’t forget that I did. It’s been over twenty years since you made me feel loved just by the meeting my gaze. It has been six years since you died, but I swear I have seen the moths more than once since then. They flutter on the window beside my late-night lingering, reminding me of the early hours we shared before the sun approached. We had closure; nothing left unsaid or undone. That was the last season of the moths, Reminded me that you were once a light I could not resist. Prayers You say you have some prayers to teach me. Prayers that could sooth you to sleep or shake you awake. Prayers that can raise the dead or let them lie. Prayers that will keep your hands out of your pockets. I don’t know those prayers. But I pray scars that poach underarm bleach and shallow when given time to heal. I pray lungs take one year to shed the black they spent seven years collecting. You know prayers like crickets, prayers that spark rainbows in the desert, prayers for sex with strangers and wide-eyed staring dolls whose marble eyes gleam across dark bedrooms. Prayers that will keep you from calling out the wrong name across the dining room table, in the bedroom, when he asks for a towel. Prayers for wild horses who don’t know when to stop their chase. Prayers for scarecrows and splintered straw. I pray skin toughens under desert sun; the sand in my chest scrubs me clean, scours the ill, the wicked, the ugly I held tightly, until it shines. You know prayers that cast black magic, that knock out front teeth and rebuild shattered mirrors. I pray my body is in a state of redemption. I pray to resist the temptation of a Thursday night in the back of your car and one drink too many. Do not allow me to regress into sickness. Lead me not to deteriorate to the fragile I once was. Unable to move I crouch low and hold tight to wooden beads that coddle the back of my throat cutting off the circulation to hands grasped tight in prayers for daylight, prayers for the flutter of wings, prayers for morning song. Remember Remember the way the light soaks into the wet streets on a Tuesday morning. Remember the way words are shared, are smeared, are cut up and divided out. Remember how clumsy your smile caught me and how fingers and shadows make excellent shows against cave wall. Remember the cave, the loneliness of it and the isolation, the cruelty. Don’t abandon my memory upon the rocks and leave it for the dogs to dig up. Remember. It is the only way to find your way back. It is the only way to learn better, to see better, to love better, to be better. I watch the rain and remember once believing birds couldn’t fly when wet. I know better now. 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 years. 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 connection. 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.
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. Twitter: @PoetKatrinaKaye Facebook: Iron & Sulfur