Tag Archives: life


A door seldom opens in the late Tuesday clouds
Up here in the tower.

None of us have wings, for all our celestial perceptions.

I want to fall backwards out of this life
into the city.

I have a white bag filled with tissue paper.

I don’t mind leaving nothing behind.

Take me to the silver doors,
with one last look at my reflection,
I will escape clueless
into the alley,
befriended by a tortoiseshell cat.

I want to fall backward out of this life.

There is a place that I will make waiting.
The sidewalk will crumble behind me.

I will no longer be the legs ascending the opera stairs
ahead of you, no longer the complacent shoulder.
No longer the pieces you think
you put together.

I have earned this small violence.

Copyright Kay Winter

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Octpowrimo Day 2: The Half-gone Ghost of Tom Petty

This is a wake
for the half-gone ghost
of Tom Petty
and the boy
who sang him to me
in the small tired
hours before Iowa’s gray light
came over the edge of the window:
“It’s all right if you don’t”

This is a wake
for the half-gone ghost
of Tom Petty.
Come around here some more.
The storm’s not breaking
and you won’t get out of Gainesville
with or without wings.

This is a wake
for the half-gone ghost
of Tom Petty
and the boy
in the corduroy pants
who tore him back to me
in the hope light
of a prairie morning.
“It’s all right if you do.”

This is a wake
for the half-gone ghost
of Tom Petty.
Let us wreck you,
break you,
run you down,
stand your ground,
not back you down.

The dark’s not breaking
and you will not get out of LA
with or without wings.

This is a wake
for the half-gone ghost
of Tom Petty.
We’re getting you lucky
We’re taking you on faith.
We are belonging you in the wildflowers.
And we run with you
until the end of the line.

– Copyright Kay Winter

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Perpetua in Carthage

I, who found the door of death
with light forever
on the other side.

I, Perpetua in Carthage.

I, martyr to dust.

I, traveler with slaves
to beasts.

I, rejecter of the babe
my father brought
aching for my breast,

asking me:

“Do you see the space
where you will not be?”

I who was silent.

He asked me:
“What can this space be called by?”

I, who answered:
“I cannot be called anything
other than what I am.”

I, who dreamt of the serpent
I, who dreamt of my slave sisters
I, who dreamt of fighting my way
through the dark door into the light.

I, who brought Felicity singing
to the wild heifer.

I, whose collarbone caught
the executioner’s knife.

I, who caught his hand
and drew the knife
through my neck.

I, who would not be denied.

Copyright Kay Winter

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Touch some part of me
while we wait for my soul
to be taken and crushed
like petals for scent.

I will neither enter
nor leave the room again.

Each moment
is a snowflake transforming
into a waterdrop
on a green leaf.

The border to the next land
is invisible to the naked eye
music is the only map.

I have walked away
without a word of goodbye.

You must stay on
counting the barks of distant dogs
and the songs of the souls
needing bodies.

Copyright Kay Winter

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The Long Way

I usually took the long way
starlight or clouds low
or the moon waiting to rise
behind the rag edge of black trees
already the shimmer of it
on the blue black lake.

The long way around anywhere
along the creek
the river edge
the last fenced yard
at the edge of town
tall grasses gold gray
in the light of the town’s last streetlight.

The long way there
lost, they said of me,
Didn’t you want to come?
How could I say yes, I did
but there was a place where
the sidewalk stopped
and became a path
that curved away
into the gray woods.

The long way home, too
Weren’t you tired? they asked of me.
How could I say yes,
but the moon was waiting to rise
behind the rag edge of black trees
and the glimmer was upon the blue black water.

Copyright Kay Winter

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The last time I fell
it was so far
and so long that
I remember
the falling.

My eyes saw nothing at first.
I felt the dark wind against my shoulders
and against my knees
as I fell.

The last time I fell
it lasted days.
and light
like long blinks.

At first I saw only the dark.
And the light so blinding.
And then darkness again
and stars at my feet.

The last time I fell
the moon rose between
my tumbling feet
and changed from a sliver
to a half
to a full

Copyright Kay Winter

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Did you have to say
that you had gone there
and come back
and were ready to stop
the traveling bus?

This spiral life
isn’t what we come to
it’s how we walk
how we stop from falling
off the place.

Did you have to say
it doesn’t matter?
It’s all that does
this spiral afterlife.
It isn’t what we die for
it’s how we keep
from falling off.

It’s the whirling secret
at the center
the seeds of a thousand flowers
the tips of the grasses
alight with the sun
over the low fence
around our hearts.

Copyright Kay Winter

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I Have Learned So Large

I have learned so large

the space open for my soul.

Clouds hover below

as I circle away

from the snow-wound expanses.


I have learned so large

the paths of my soul traveling.

Aimless Autumn steps

walking with you

until we are lost

and I think:

“This is it.

This is how the life goes here.”


I have learned so large the flowering

of my soul

lovely as wild pink roses

as dandelions seeding

miraculous as the five white petals

that turn to bitter lemons.

– Copyright Kay Winter

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Memento Mori

On Wednesdays and Thursdays
I take the 7 bus home
after dark.

We pass by a funeral home
and every night
I look through the window
and see a small arc of lamplight,
an empty sofa,
and a box of tissue

– Copyright Kay Winter

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For One Day

For one day
do not toss the net.

Look for nothing
lost on the ground,
nothing in secret folds
in the back of a book,
or waiting on a table.

Remember nothing.
Plan nothing.
Forget the list and calendar and clock.

Do not look at the sky
through the kitchen window
before you go.

If it rains, be wet.

For one day,
do not toss the net.

– Copyright Kay Winter

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