What should have been but never was.jpg


Catherine Kyle


What I mean when I say Never mind is that my words have fallen like silver circles into the couch’s furrow.
Have tumbled down the grinning storm drain like the nose stud I once lost. It glimmered—twinkle, little stud—
and ricocheted to water. Once these things are lost, they’re lost. Leaves that spill to gutter melt to sludge,
become soft matter. Pens that slip behind the hulks of fridges eat their ink. Something like frozen explorers
boiling, chewing lace and leather. What I mean is things are not the same once slithered down the sink.
Copper chain and locket fished from pipe: skeletal eels. Though what survives the trip to sewer doesn’t have
to languish. We’ve all heard stories of the gators basking in the slime. Or creatures crawling out of manholes
in the nightshade-blue gloam. Rifling through the battered trashcans. Dancing in the streets.


What I mean when I say Let’s go to the river is that I am urgent to devour sights of you gathering smoothened
stones. Collecting them in palms and pockets for skipping downstream. That the sound of objects rustling in
pockets—lighters, pebbles, gum sticks—makes you a magpie I would chase on foot through stippled shores.
That I knew you would bust me open like geode the day the beer caps jangling in your pocket—red and
green, like serrated Christmas—marked you, a cat bell, a warning to chase young fledglings from ravenous
jaw. How when I told you this, you laughed and kissed me, a sweet ring that frostened my cheek. What I
mean is I want to recapture the day you waded downriver to pick a bouquet. How I stood up to ankle in
water, in white. How this was a kind of marriage.

Catherine Kyle is the author of Parallel (Another New Calligraphy, forthcoming 2017), Flotsam (Etched Press, 2015), Gamer: A Role-Playing Poem (dancing girl press, 2015), and Feral Domesticity (Robocup Press, 2014). She teaches at the College of Western Idaho and at The Cabin, a literary nonprofit. Her website is www.catherinebaileykyle.com

JD Thornton