October 10, 2018KR OnlinePoetry


If only my salvation
had been in my own hands,

mine, which might have taken it up
with more solemnity,

the way they’d cradle
lace or jewelry, other
female things—

or if it had been in the hands
of another woman who knew
what it was to live

in a world beneath
the ordinary one you inhabit

and what it was, also,
to follow orders
under threat of viciousness—

Even with my breath on your neck,
you had no faith I would follow you,

musician, artist, weakling that you are,
crumbling under such a slight task—

One beam of light almost touched my skin
before you turned, before I retreated from you,

I imagine you think I’m waiting for you here,
saving my face, my dress
for your company—

in your long life
you will never conceive of it,
this sour tongue in my dirty mouth,
this particular bitterness.

Katie Berta
Katie Berta has her PhD in poetry from Ohio University and her MFA from Arizona State. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Blackbird, Louisville Review, BOAAT, Laurel Review, and other journals.