Kate Kingston

Featured Poet — Spring 2021

 A Little Witch Nonsense

    Light as a butterfly, deep as bitter root

I flick red ants from my wrist before take-off. 

Airborne, I suggest the saffron moon step aside,
          leave room for my cackle, my mania. 

I ascend the orange glow of maple.

Autumn halogen filters over the bay.

Ferries steal through sapphire water,
that forgiving place that has no center.

My mother’s opal on my finger,
         her ashes in the vault. 

I did not give her permission to leave. 

She did not ask. 

Even leaves are disturbed by flight. 

I want to fly over the sea, evaporate with clouds. 

I love the rush, spiral, drift. 

When I enter the bruise, I wonder what it will taste like.   

Witch Stew

Bilingual chanting makes me hungry,
     sapo, culebra, lagarto, toad, snake, lizard.
I eat with the intensity of sorrow,
     build the spiders a fortress, sweep
ants into a heap. I teach my daughter to fly
     with a broom, a straw rudder
for sudden turns. With a flick of my wand,
     I transform the room into chaos,
trans-pollinate dust balls into rubies,
     turn couches to the wall, topple
the easy chair on its nose. No chair
     should be called easy.
I ramshackle through my garden filled
     with cactus spurs and hornet nests.
My constant banter awakens birds
     slicing shadows with wingspan.
I find myself contributing to the delinquency
     of a sparrow, its granite breath
pecking leftover wanderlust from my hand.


Her words like musk swim the page, 
a sea of wizards and magicians 
casting off. Their navels reach beyond
mothers like fishing line billowing 
its silver lineage over the pond 
of rainbows and cutthroats.

She leans over the drift from the tip 
of her precise V5 rolling ball, 
spills ink like guts onto the page 
where thin blue lines support the weight 
of sixty years as it tumbles 
from her pen, heartbreak 
and fear camouflaged in gun-shy 
words that trickle to the surface  

like the barbershops in Neruda’s poem 
or the butterflies in Lorca’s, 
one poet exiled, one murdered,  
because their pens couldn’t stop filtering 
onto the page like sunlight straining 
through a storm or rain maniacally 
typing on a terra cotta roof.  

Deconstructing the Witch

When I open her up, sonnets
pore from the epidermal layer. Odes flutter
through her ribs. Sestinas
rumble down her spine like crusaders.
When I open her up
with this rolling V ball pen, I fill her veins
with anorexic ink, scrawl
graffiti on her esophagus. I find a photograph
of her pet lynx glued to the vertebrae.
The scent of oleander drifts from her ears,
the essence of myrrh from her nostril.
When I open her up, I find the minnow,
the tadpole, the water spider floating in a plasma
pool. When I cut into her,
I find tree toads chanting the maze
of her colon, piranhas sucking her marrow. 

Kate Kingston has published two books of poetry, History of Grey, a runner-up in the 2013 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award, and Shaking the Kaleidoscope, a finalist in the 2011 Idaho Prize for Poetry. Her manuscript The Future Wears Camouflage is forthcoming from Salmon Press, Ireland, in 2022. She is the recipient of the Atlanta Review International Publication Prize, the Ruth Stone Prize, and the W.D Snodgrass Award for Poetic Endeavor and Excellence. She currently lives and writes in Trinidad, Colorado.