simplicity

the ice melts unevenly.

frost on the edge of a colorless plane, and
a frayed sense of time.

$0.99 cup of spicy mayo
makes my day, makes me smile.

you are the macadamia,
courting the chocolate
as if it needs a guide.

pigeons want what I cannot afford,
bok choy on rice.

every little sweet counts
and cries with the pop
of my salmon knuckles.

I blush as cherry trees fall.

you and me
down Hackberry street.

forgetting that the north
is soft and tucked aside.

Cat No. 128 of the 500 Cats Project

opening act

I walk a tightrope that rivals a spider web.
breathe me in, see me out.
the raindrops sting when they want to,
needles into fleshy thumbs.

love these hands which visit peace,
for they are dry and chapped
as my unquiet lips
that relay secrets, better left
unspun and elongated.

judge me harshly,
if you have the time.

take me through the scarlet
and all the confetti, pink and flat
across dappled paths
downtrodden with whispers
and flooded with sighs of white.

I yell the lyrics authored by youth.
see me past all you’ve known.
the water rushes as the sky defies,
orchids filling modest homes.

Cat No. 127 of the 500 Cats Project

March Publications

Hello, all! I hope you are well. I thought I might share this month’s publications, for anyone interested in reading them.

Ghost City Review published “Unstrung Pearls” at the beginning of March. Find it here.

Soft Cartel offers a fantastic assortment of short stories, poetry, and artwork. “Atún” is a prose piece about a cat, childhood, loss, and communal complacency. Read it here.

Maudlin House features another short story, “Unchanged Melodies.” I wrote this piece a few years ago. It is somewhat autobiographical, and is based on my childhood experiences living overseas on a military base. Much of the story is drawn from my memories of a classmate with autism who was often ridiculed, feared, and generally misunderstood by those around him. Check it out here.

Thank you so much for your readership and support. Gradually, I’ll be concentrating on more short fiction, with a focus on color and emotional acuity.

Have a good day,

Kristine

eyeing the caffeine

delays in good old customer
service, the batching of
work, duplication of minutes
across a pastel wall shielded
by obituaries for spiteful
clouds, rounded in their
tired introspection and moot
rebuttals, hissingly solemn.

first day back, eight tall
canisters of coffee burn
while the power goes out
and we look around, see
how many slips need a
home, a pinch, cardstock
in the brightest blue, my
coveted stamps finding
refuge in the bag of our
most reliable deliveries.

first-time consultations are
really just several prolonged
rounds of peekaboo, but we
often write up stories as to
why no one saw us, and why
no one sees us pouring life’s
catalysts the way pretty folks
do, poised and undistracted.

Cat No. 122 of the 500 Cats Project

some dehydrated thought

there was once a time when I thought hazelnut
truffles fell from the sky, and I asked in the
middle of downtown morning traffic.

who am I to even mention traffic? I haven’t
had a car in years.

it’s an ethics thing for me, like not wearing
wooden square-bead bracelets showcasing
saints striking ten different poses.           don’t
press the gas if you can’t turn the wheel.

and don’t start conversations about certain
people who’ve received the same amount of
confidence you’ve placed in your sad self.

I watched a documentary on husbands who
can’t feel.           They mumbled their vows as
their mothers cried, like the brides would in
several months. occasionally, I stare at the
ceiling, crumpling napkins in colorless fists.

I wonder if I’m anything like these men, if
I’ve ever really wanted anyone.

undoubtedly, I’ve always envied the act of
being, but I’ve never met someone who
taught this.           pedagogy is a loaded word
long hallowed by some who can’t order fries
without leaving behind some slap-worthy smirk.

the hazelnut truffles rest on my countertop
that begs for Clorox, just as my eyelids
calmly give up their strained resolve.

listeria

he crossed a boundary, sturdy chest pressed
by a thin, pale finger (slightly bent).

plastic ring, the sparkling pink
invites a smirk to dance:
trivial moments shall upset
this one dry face.

composing some song, uneven tempo
that awkwardly mocks mixed signals
perceived weeks before autumn.

she lost her page, calendar torn
and no one provides the correct date.

three weeks late and stalled
at another rusted bus stop.

deadline on the yellow slip,
facetious detention with which
he threatens her between four
brittle walls, barely there.

honest warnings, clipped
and tucked for years, into
striped inner pockets of
a favorite purse with color
at its fullest, unchanged.

this new emptiness grabs her
by the chin, shaking her head
as boys of the past grab busted
pens, scrawling their numbers.

to discount and disconnect
all over again.

Cats No. 112, 113, 114, and 115 of the 500 Cats Project

the swan forgot the lyrics

tie my hair back
feeling strands
defy the resolve
of the unwound.

too many tasks
written on walls
pressed upon by
frazzled fingers.

the more I want,
the less I retain.

explanations dry
themselves so
no one else runs
their bills amok.

plan the purge
while tucking in
sheets of paper
stamped in blue.

fewer places left,
petals out to melt.

straps will fall
and the mouth
withdraws every
second guess.

dip my two feet
into stilled ponds
waiting for years
within hot lobbies.

clumsily, in taste

she ate crème brûlée with the bluntest fork.
this afternoon, her first time.

she wanted to tell the world and its
mother that she finally knew what
she had missed, what she had feared,
and all she could only read about
between walls so thin like the red worn
by crisp, dainty apples washed with joy.

morning is rarely missed, returning too soon
with birds in the middle of gossip’s fifth round
piercing the lightest blue, and she’ll learn to
make some for herself, plastic spoons aplenty
as the clock does stand oh so wonderfully still.

it was never too late for the girl
who shook and cried after an unbroken fall.

Cat No. 109 of the 500 Cats Project

Dangling Mobile of Ordinary

Mercy of a lazy afternoon.

Babies asleep, sign on door says
it’s just not smart to ask for
conversation.

Or start it.

The car battery’s given up for this
particular meantime. You can hold
your breath, but the bluebonnets
won’t. They did their time, daring
not to quiver as the babies smiled
on command.

Most people still have their senior
yearbook.

Nowadays, it’s a breakfast tray,
hosting more napkins than cups of
black coffee since the city declared
it wants to cut down. How many
cups could fit on the glossy block,
flat the way some people like their
leisurely soda?

I couldn’t tell you,
so I guess we’ll never know
while most of the questions
I’ve left by your door
run back to me, wet streets
stained, smelling of Big Red
that only I can taste.

You will discover more things that
always spun over your bed.

when we were somewhat young

aliens come to teach us tricks
less silly than simply playing fetch,
watching the sun hide into wordlessness
like young sangria tossed onto worn carpets.

you and your pencil, glue stick
trying its best to hold together the steps
one follows, solving the most tiresome
riddles, equations, whiteboard confetti.

fly through tonight, keep your head down
and don’t vomit yet because there’s much more
that we haven’t seen and the people around the corner
have an entire book filled, oddities and monsters smirking.

we once wrote stories and scared off those
who timed themselves in the late afternoon
and made sure to climb the stairs at five
while we knew we’d be searched for, astray.

ants form a line, encircling the smoothest rocks
we walked right over, arched nonchalance glowing
in the heat, the unknown and feared biting our ankles
that worked, pushed, and fought against suburban rest.

Cat No. 92 of the 500 Cats Project