Numb

Katrina K Guarascio

I became numb
one afternoon,
essence drained
from veins

like a dried petal,
posing for pictures,
yet so close to crumble.

The thread pulled tightly,
and ribs corseted closed

unable to carry breathe
or speak the words that
scratch the top of my mouth.

Wanting to be a good woman,
I emerge mannequin,
hoping not to break
illusion with movement.

I am a clumsy masochist at best.

I continue to wake every morning.
Not a bathing beauty,

or ambitious explorer.
Not a teacher, or poet, or guide,
nor lap cat provided with secure function.

Without purpose, I only continue.

I used to trust in friendship,
assume confidence from conversations,
validations from simple smiles.

Now I cross myself in the morning
before covering my feet.
I keep my anger in an empty vase
that gathers dust on windowsill.

Broken

Katrina K Guarascio

Our conversation
dried;

our time
over.
It’s not your
fault.

We never
had a chance.

You left,
emptied shelves
and dresser drawers.
All I can think
is my grandfather will never
dance with me at my wedding.

My heart is broken
broken,
broken.
My body mourning.

All it is
all of this is
a boneyard
I can’t bury.

I’ve always had trouble
with the scraps,
always found it
impossible to let go.

And now,
at 10:30 on a Tuesday night
I am more empty,
more alone
than I can ever remember.

All I want is for
my mind to rest,
my body to resign.

This is not a holy time.
There is nothing sacred
in this prayer.

Dear child of my heart,
dear landmine,
how does one rectify absence
when the only thing left is
alone
aloneness
lone ness
lonely
ness

and I am
drip
drip
dripping
on white pages again.

Metaphors are the same
as curse words are the same
as damn I miss you
is the same as damn
I miss myself is the same
as damn
damn

I miss you.

this bird

Katrina K Guarascio

never learned to nest

allowed feathers to fall
without a thought to
where they may land

I too
am on the wing

telling stories of lives
I could never take apart

this bird breaks to pieces
part of the puzzle that
wedged creation together

this birdsong
sweet as time
reaches never touches

too many nests
not enough places
to sit and stir

a myth is true only when
it is sung on morning’s breath

let the ink be ink
the guitar be guitar

let song be song

“this bird” is previously published in the Weekly Write 2020 via Swimming with Elephants Publications.

Original Art by Katrina K Guarascio

While he sleeps,

Liza Wolff-Francis

I sit in the dark of morning, inhale
the sacred silence that comes between

his breaths like a tiptoe. My body balances
on the edge of the bed as if it was to decide

which day to climb out of. His breath, even
and pacing, as if it were the day moving

through itself and an occasional animal sound,
a raccoon perhaps, a squirrel, a dog, a bear.

My bear behind me, vulnerable like all
that would kill us is far from here, far from us.

My prayers that it will stay that way hover
at the floorboard cracks, like a spell of salt

and peppermint oil to keep away dark shadows,
politicians in their masks, the America

I criticize and want to be different. Only all that I love
here in the dark right at my fingertips, holding up

the droop of my breasts, the bend of my toes,
the wild of my hair. While you sleep, the air

holds me in its dying night and I wait to remember
myself, all skin and bone, in the coming light.