Poems: Kali Paszkiewicz


I twist my hand out the car window
To feel the ways the wind will slice me up,
It cuts off my fingers so they can
Touch everything at once. My pinkie
Goes towards the stars
Warbling over the black mountain top
Like air bubbles floating toward the surface
Of water.

It wasn’t magic that brought me here
Just a jagged twig thrust through my chest
By my own hands because I was told
Not to play with wands, or sorry, knives,
And I can call her what I want, Siren, pixie,
Demon, witch, but this is no fault of hers.

My thumb went fumbling toward the fog
That was thick like palms pressing
The world into its shape, my middle finger
Skidded across the trees that guarded
Their secrets like sentinels

My secrets started with cigarettes penetrating my lips
Before I went on to men, but I wasn’t satisfied,
Not because it wasn’t ungodly enough
But because I didn’t love the ashes
That were left after the smoke.

My ring finger stayed close to my skirt
So I could clutch myself there and
Fight the urge to reach for her leg,
Or face, hair or lips, or any part of her
That wasn’t me, that wasn’t a man.

My pointer finger lost its way and
Landed in the road to be our cars next victim,
She didn’t even notice when she ran over me
But it didn’t hurt when she broke me open,

It felt human, I think.


The Moth that Haunts the Laundry Room

He Dances to a song by death
In audience of the washing machines
A skipping heartbeat burdened by breath;
Curtain ready to take his final scene.

The tile, his stage, is powdered with dust
That throbs and floats between the cracks.
The sun, a spotlight, in which he is trussed,
Listens for its cue to go to black.

Hamper in hand, towards him I creep.
My feet applaud across the chilly ground.
It seems the price of life is steep
When in suffering is how you’re found.

Free him from his misery, slap him with a shoe,
You can’t care for everything, what’s a moth or two?


Joy Harjo

If yesterday was a place
I think it would be in a saxaphone
In Joy Harjo’s hands,
Where she curled her lips around it
To blow us away on her river
Of stories.

She opened her mouth
And my tears came out.
In each drop was a word
They dripped over my tongue
And I swallowed as if their taste could teach me.

Even as she told us of her mother’s body-
How she washed it
When its heart stopped-
The only death I tasted was memory.

My mother is somewhere in my stomach now
Pulsing with familiarity, like the way a house
Seems to breath when you reach out for it
In the dark.

But it’s not a house anymore, it’s where she keeps
Her hoard of secrets like a dragon, breathing fire
When I step too close.

I vomit her ashes.

If tomorrow was a place,
It would be a pile of dragon’s teeth.


July 6th

On July 6th you come out
To your mom in a Zoe’s kitchen;

she cried.

You’re not sure if it’s
Because her favorite child
Is going to hell
Or because she realized
You’re afraid of her
Power over you.

The truth comes out
In barrel rolls off your tongue
And at first neither of you are phased
Because the truth had always
Been somewhere between you
Hiding in the seems
Of laughs

But then it hits you both
What you’ve admitted to
you want to evaporate

Because you are free
From the womb’s hold
And yet
Disappearing into the air
Around you. Dispersing
Into the queer-web
That her christian eyes
Have spun.

She is the spider
That has caught you
And feeds on your
Obedience, and now
You are starving her.

You were the last
Of your siblings to
Have broken away
Somehow. Your brother
Had always fought
To fly freely, and your sister
Cut herself into oblivion.
We have all shamed
The church.

And this, you think,
Is what makes spiders cry.
Watching their food escape
Their carefully crafted



I was born in soil;
Like a snail shell buried in autumn.
Splitting under the weight of rain
From the crackled brown leaves
Of my mother’s eyes.
I tear the ground
Like an earthquake
A stem bright in the orange
Glaze of sunlight.

I shed green for red;
This forms a scar by my eyebrow,
Gashed so deep in my forehead
It takes all memory.
I wave fog-bitten thoughts
Goodbye as they seep into my roots.

I feel bees like laughter on my lips
Gathering dead skin and words
On the fluff of their legs.
They drag ideas
Over my tongue.
They bring winter like teeth
Snagging my skin.

And when my petals fall, fingers
Come and go, tearing off
Chunks of red with no thought to my loss.
Throw me over cliff tops, omnipotent hands!
Let me fall through the wind,
Let my pedals become snow.

The bees will save me in spring.


Kali Paszkiewicz has been writing poetry since high school, and last year graduated with a BA in English Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina. She’s a part time blogger – prompts, reviews, and helpful resources at thegarrulousgecko.home.blog. Also, she volunteers and contributes to the online journal The Love Story (thelovestory.org). Kali is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Library science at North Carolina Central University.

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