top of page

karah kemmerly / two poems


it's springtime & everyone is depressed

magnolia lake at my feet


rainy day unrelenting


seems like everyone I know is going through a break-up


I have aged a thousand years in the last three


one spring I drove an hour to gawk at rows of peonies


each one heavy as a human heart in your hands


& unfurling even more recklessly


my heart gayer than ever


& so full of longing I half-drown


last spring I embroidered a lilac branch


tried to keep the past close with a series of cruel pinpricks


memory after memory darting through me


like minnows through the siphon of my chest


I let a woman tattoo me with violets


draw a vine along my collar & ink it in

 

my fatal flaw is wanting permanence


I drag desire around like a zombie on a leash


some nightcrawler resurrection man


jolting corpses back to life in the garden


rhododendrons looking on open-mouthed & unamused


if I could ask the flowers for anything


I’d ask them how to forget


 

self-portrait as persephone topside

it’s uncuffing season & so I wander

into a field again, styx-drenched & skeletal.


a double-take personified. the nightlight too bright

for my nocturnal tapetum, this filigree


of stars a delicate migraine. april flings

itself wanton & the nymphs go looking


for something that passes as love. come spring

I get so tired of myself, sleepwalking


through the garden & waking up hungover.

the magnolia petals glide into a pond


around my feet & I think about gravity,

how heavy it can feel to be so light.


although this is my home, I cannot return

easily. my new heart barely anchored: half-


muscle, half-pomegranate. part of me

still underground, the future waiting.


 

Karah Kemmerly is a queer writer who grew up in Northern California and now lives and teaches in Portland, Oregon. Kemmerly completed an MFA in poetry at Oregon State University and has published work in Redivider, Breakwater Review, HAD, and DEAR.

196 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon
bottom of page