Katrina Hays / Poetry 6.1 / Spring, 2018




Admiralty Inlet, Puget Sound

In balance, one thing against another
The dead hawk and the white foal
The female, the male
As if you could be safely ferried across

Before this was the urgency
The drive
After this is the sorrow
As if you could be ferried across

This is the balance
This is the tipping point
The soul is an estuary
The body, a boat


Adrift in my kayak,
I see a crimson
four-armed starfish
clinging to black-green rock.

I’m told if you chop
off one arm
then comes another.
Does a phantom remain
calling back to the body?

Mangled heart,
ghosting back
towards old love,
grow in me a new

ad hoc life

I wish I could slide aside
the steel membrane of choice

Step into the me who spun right
danced back or slid sideways

I might be cooking spaghetti with meatballs
for my three kids

Or waking up next to that German baritone
after a performance of Carmen

Perhaps I’d be plucking some dumb tourist from the belly of the Zambezi
before the crocodiles showed up

Or sporting orange robes and a shaved pate
meditating in the Himalayas

The rough reality of this pen
scrolling ink across page after page

Makes me wonder
what those fractals of self

Think of this ad hoc life



Katrina Hays was an opera singer and river guide before finding her way to writing. Her poetry and essays have appeared in WomenArts Quarterly, Psychological Perspectives, Bellingham Review, Apalachee Review, and Crab Creek Review, with poems forthcoming in The Hollins Critic. She’s the founding editor of RWW Soundings, the online literary and program journal of the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University, where she received an MFA in Creative Writing (2010). Hays now serves on the RWW guest faculty.


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