Have you ever been at war with yourself? Have you ever not been? “Devotional poem” by Kate Lutzner, explores this particular human predicament with the precision of an astro-physicist studying the star that may one day annihilate the earth. We here in the Poet Republik love all of Kate’s poetry, and this is just a sample of her forthcoming collection, Invitation to a Rescue which will be out by Poet Republik Ltd. later this month.
I am at war with myself, all the cells
in my body gathering their weapons,
their fists. The doctor says there will
be a decline, to look for it, to give
myself over to it when the time comes.
I was used to suffering before words
formed on my tongue, my mouth
filled with a concern, the opposite
of empathy. Bits of grief build
like nodules in my throat, all
the devotion that will someday
form there threatening to dissolve
into need. Help me to express
all the uses of my being, to learn
what it means to live with this
urge, this right to nothing
but lending myself to others,
this right to be healed.
Kate Lutzner‘s poetry and stories have appeared in such journals as Antioch Review, Mississippi Review, The Brooklyn Rail, BlazeVOX, Rattle and Barrow Street. She was awarded the Robert Frost Poetry Prize by Kenyon College and is recipient of the Jerome Lowell Dejur Award and the Stark Short Fiction Prize. Kate holds a J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MFA from City College. She has been featured in Verse Daily. Kate has a novel, The Only One Who Loves You, on Amazon Kindle.
Smooth hands are suspect.
I love the way your hands
snag my silk blouses.
Sandpaper calluses are kisses.
I have tortilla-making hands,
and fingernails with chipped red polish.
My hands are tattooed with the ink of poems.
They touch moonlight
on your cheek while you sleep.
Originally published in The Sierra Nevada Review
Not the Sound a Drum Makes
Her son’s last name pounds “little drum.”
Beat of heart, rain on flat rock,
his father’s voice.
Her maiden name is her father’s name, obvious I know: Mexican tiles, adobe mouths that could say more.
Her mother’s name cries Southern wind on white porches. Tobacco teepees drying death. Black-eyed peas.
Her first name screams long-suffering virgin. Pieta. Crosses made of abalone on the roadside—
She learns how to spell a new name—
The sun says it’s green. Her last name
fields red circles, blue cloth, not the sound a drum makes.