Katherine Riegel

Wood Sorrel

I woke up and had
enough of grief.

I banished the photos of dead
birds, burying them

under singing marigolds,
knowing they would bloom and fly

again some year, in the right
growing season. I wrapped

my losses in silk, each one
a broken gift to future me,

and invented bright tunes
from my childhood on the pipe

I do not play
except in summer

when the flies are more inside
than out and I

am more outside than in
because that is where green

lives, and almost everything else
worth listening to.

Kites Almost Too Strong to Hold

Do you sometimes
fold the forested heart you’re dying
to show into an origami crane
and cage it
in your fingers?

Do you ever want
to grab on to your friends’ retreating
palms and beg them to sing, one
more time, the songs that made you
love them? What do you think of

when you’re driving under the stars
sipping the outside air to stay awake?

Do you have a different smile
for the memories of summer, of new
sneakers, kites almost
too strong to hold? How many

times have you said no when you
really wanted to say yes? If I offered

a bite of the perfect strawberry cream
delight, would you take it? And after,
alone in your cold kitchen,
would you think of how your refusal

gave me one more mouthful
of pleasure, one more suck
and melt of sweetness, and would that
thought make you sigh
all the way down into the leafy dark?

Author Portrait

Katherine Riegel is the author of Letters to Colin Firth, which won the 2015 Sundress Publications Chapbook Competition, and two books of poetry: What the Mouth Was Made For and Castaway. Her poems and essays have appeared in Brevity, The Offing, Orion, Poets.org, Tin House, and elsewhere. She is co-founder and poetry editor for Sweet: A Literary Confection.

View the website of Katherine Riegel