Tag Archives: memory


I. Via Casino

Sitting beneath the palms
eyes closed on a Sunday
legs stretched into sun
from my cotton skirt
like I wore the summer we met.

The languages walk past
The stone seat is cool
against my back.

I remember the warmth
of your shoulders
in the evening
your gentle fingers
saying Catarina, Catarina.

II. Avalon

Yesterday morning
I passed through the Old Town
without meaning to
on my way to the fish market.

I stopped below the building
where we had been together.

The plaster is crumbling
in the salt air, like us.

I dared to look at the shaded balcony
that hung out over the harbor,
saw again our drowsing at noon
the sun shimmering on the sea
behind us.

Oh, Pedro, Pedro,
let us throw our bones back
into the sea.

@Copyright Kay Winter

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I am the person who writes the nonsense into life.

The flower petals crumbling into sand.
Laugh if you will.

I am the person who writes the nonsense into life.
The corners waiting to be turned
Emptying to floods.

As much as life builds itself up and lays a path,
It wants these trippings.

It is not death, this nonsense.

These places where I fall down, fall into the flood, the flower fades from blue to purple bruised and crumbles into sand.
Where it all falls out beneath my feet.

You are longing for a story, Terrence.

But I am the person writes the nonsense into life.

The hard work of not falling asleep when you want to, when the moon falls through the window and glides down the wall.

Do you know, Terrence, the way to fall asleep then,
During the long night?

Do you still want a story, Terrence?

There is no heart of the matter.
No long, fated path.
No distant mountain we move toward.
No white peak to conquer.
No story that is anything but nonsense.

I am the person who writes the nonsense into life.

Does death even finish it?

Tell me, Terrence,
Do you know anyone who is dead who has seen the puzzle put together?

Try this, Terrence.
Try writing the nonsense into your own life.

You may find that you already have.

Tell me about the clouds that you watched
From the roof as it rained.
Your wet shirt.
The squelching of your shoes coming back
Down the stairs.

How you knew the ending.
How you knew the empty apartment you came down to.
How you sat in your wet clothes
And wrote the nonsense
Into the empty room.

– Copyright Kay Winter

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A Poem for Writing a Poem

Whatever comes to mind when
you see the word

Whatever comes to mind when
you write the word

Whatever comes to mind when
the sign says

When the sign says
No Exit.

Whatever comes to mind when
you stand outside
as the evening falls early
in November.

When you wake just before first light.

When the summer sun on your neck
reminds you of
the last summer you saw her.

Whatever comes to mind when you think
about chocolate.

About coffee.
About whiskey.
About the small of his back.

Whatever comes to mind when
You write the word

When you say the word

Whatever comes to mind
when you look down the long alley.

When the moon rolls above you
and the forsythia blooms as you sleep.

– Copyright Kay Winter

Readers: I’d love for you to take the prompts in the poem and write your responses (any, all) in the comments. Do a simple list, write your own poem, whatever you like!

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What wind blew me back here
from where I was
I don’t know
except it was raining there, too.

I came from late June
and the rain had a green edge
that also meant thunder
and lightning that would crack
over the neighbor’s cottonwood trees.

But the place I have come to
is as I remembered.
Autumn, woods,
the wide cold lake
blending into the sky
through the wet black branches.

I am stopped,
dumbstruck on the trail,
by the leaves in a clearing
fallen and aflame
the fire of them burning
the brighter for being wet.

And the wind,
maybe it is the same June wind,
blows the rain through the air
to this clearing.
I stand on muddy earth
in a time-hollowed place
that I will come back to
as I have done.

And my hands are wet,
I think, they are wet.
And it is June again
and the patio chairs must be tipped
against the table before I go inside
to close the upstairs windows.

And can I ask you,
can I,
where are you now?
Do you have such places
that you go to?

And what is the call of now
but an echo through us
that says
and calls back

– Copyright Kay Winter

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Kid Pool

She remembers the pale
bubbles under the water
of the kids pool
the endless and lax summer
she spent in Phoenix
to stay with her aunt.

Now, standing in her sedate black suit,
on the deck of a business hotel pool
somewhere in Dallas,
she smells pool water splashed
across hot concrete.
And she is five,
and hiding in water,
and she misses
her mother
the same way now.

– Copyright Kay Winter

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August Meeting

The two heads of white hair
bow over knees
and still, wrinkled hands
resting on gray kimonos.

On the same day in early August
they meet at Kofukuji shrine
to share silence
in the open room
facing the garden
of small blue flowers.

The wind catches
the temple bell.

– Kay Winter

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Collage Poem: White Beach


I went into a white sky
over a white beach.

Out farther
out at sea
a blue current
on a postcard with a picture
someone else took
long before I arrived.
– Copyright Kay Winter

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Collage Poem: Our Pasts We Harvested

Collage of separate images

Our pasts we harvested
like summer leaves turned golden.
Our golden eyes reflecting their leopard

We were lighted by the harsh God of winter:
white blindness
and the orange fires of evening rest.

Summers, we sea-dove into green waves
and white curls
and ate pepper so hot
the sun melted down our shoulders.

We took long drinks from green glasses
and traveled
the waterway length of our days,
smelling the distant
scarlet gardens of the shore.

We contained clarity
like glass held
against the changing sky.

We were awake every morning
with orange hope
like heavy-hanging fruit
outside an open window.

-Copyright Kay Winter

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Moment: Moment After

Not the moment:

the moment after.

An undecided moment:
undecided as the light of the
late winter afternoon.
An unawere moment:
unaware of what I knew
like what the chaplain had said,
where I parked the car,
how I’ll Be Home for Christmas
had been playing softly in my head
for days,
the chipped patch of yellow paint
on the radiator
(all I remember seeing).
Not the moment:
the moment after.

An impossible moment:
impossible as how
I could hold
both all the past
and all of the coming absence.
Copyright Kay Winter

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Uncertain Weather

We met when we were uncertain weather
and unfound lucky pennies.

An uncertain season
of rain through sun,
and smooth gray clouds lingering
low in the sky.

I did one certain thing.

I left you behind.

You, not strong enough for what was coming.
(Or was it me, sparing myself
the trouble of you.)

The weather this winter
blows sleet
over the bare trees of the park
I see from my window
(my only).

Years ago, before I knew you,
before I had to think of you,
I spent a year of Novembers
waiting in that park,
reading The House of Seven Gables
by streetlight,
while crows circled high in the pale air.

Now, from this window,
(my only)
I see the same crows,
settling in the dark empty windows
of the chapel across the green.

I leave the window open
to let the sound of the wind
drown out the drip of time.

I ask this:

When my crow comes
and settles on the sill
and speaks my bright simple name,
let me step over,
from do, to having done, to being over it.

Copyright Kay Winter

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