3 Poems | Catherine Kyle

After Umpqua


I enter my classroom,
so similar to theirs.

English 101. Community

My hands shake—really—
as I try to act normal.

Praying—really, praying—
that no one will be shot.

When 2:15 comes and they file
out chatting, I shut eyes and breathe.

We lived. Today, we lived.


Watching a movie
beside a friend.

A rustle in the corner
a few rows back.

My heart shudders red leaf
as I realize—while praying—

a film about women voting
might get us shot.

Luckily the stranger
is just fetching candy,

and today, we live. Today, we live.


Walking down my street. Out
at a bar. In my own home.

Hoping I will live.

Contemplating armor.
Contemplating refuge.
Contemplating action.

Hoping we will live.


Universal Solvent

This birch branch is hollow
but its snap echoes heaven.

Something divided
remains the same compound.

Something reunited across eons,
across holly, bears the resemblance

of your voice on his tongue. You,
O Clever One. Brick. Wooden doll.

Whose alkahest was too much
for this synesthesiac.

Who made her see cathedrals
all dripping with honey.

Who made her hear teeth
slicing aquamarine.

Come. I will draw
a circle around us.

Ignite it on the count of 3.
Watch separation burn.


Fruit Fly vs. Blue Whale
For S

That was how you said it felt,
being an activist.

The act
of caring.

The refusal to submit.

I imagine you buckling
under the weight
of that hideous whale, legs
and wings spent.

But S, you are no fly.
Or, if you are,
you are the kind of fly
that swallows whales whole.

Something from a fairy tale
written on Dead Sea Scrolls.
Something the Grimm brothers wouldn’t dare
touch. Something banned from the canon.

A fly of myth the size of a planet. Your mouth a volcano,
saliva galaxies. An all-devouring mother.

With your honeycomb eyes, fracture that whale.
Lay your eggs in its skull.

Catherine Kyle is a Ph.D. candidate in English though Western Michigan University finishing her dissertation on graphic novels from Boise, where she teaches at the College of Western Idaho and works for The Cabin, a literary nonprofit. She is the author and illustrator of the hybrid-genre collection Feral Domesticity (Robocup Press, 2014); the author of the poetry chapbooks Flotsam (Etched Press, 2015) and Gamer: A Role-Playing Poem (dancing girl press, 2015); and a co-editor of Goddessmode (Cool Skull Press, 2015). She also helps run the Ghosts & Projectors poetry reading series. Her graphic narratives, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in The Rumpus, Superstition Review, WomenArts Quarterly, and elsewhere. In 2015, she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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