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3 poems

K I M B E R L Y   C A S E Y


            after Jane Hirschfield


All winter long my father prayed for my mother.

I do not know what drives a man back to church

after three decades, do not know if the customs,

the ash fingertips on the forehead, create comfort

for someone missing their partner's touch— 


Not knowing if he missed her or

the clean house, the full fridge.

As the frogs sing under the stars, I know

that god can be the biggest wound we carry.

He folds one fist into the mitt of his palm,

a worn cloth polishing a stone smooth.




Spouse I Last Name Prior To First Marriage

I have always been my mother’s daughter

despite the distance, she calls

to tell me about the new hiking trails

she has carved from the earth,

ready for my running shoes.



Number Of This Marriage


If you kiss a falling tree

alone in the woods

and no one hears you whisper

I love you

does it really make a sound?


Number Of Children In This Household


Over 1,500 species have been recorded

to eat their young, on occasion.

Does that first bite

feel like a cyst rupturing?

My teeth are sharp

but my womb is hollow.


Date Of Separation. Date Of Final Decree


I can remember calling Maya

while driving to work

crying because the last thread severed.

Now we are wearing masks.

Thanksgiving is coming.

I am not good at admitting



Legal Grounds For Decree


I cannot tell you who you are

but I know where you’ve been.

You’re standing in a mirror.

You’re both here, and back there.

Cheers to the cycle,

turned upside-down and back

around again. Do your hands

miss my body? Or do the cans

keep them company?


Decree Awarded To

The hot cup of coffee

held cradled between both hands

on the timid, screened-in porch.

The steam rising

To meet a vast new sunrise.






A germ suspended in the air between us

gave off the glow of leaving


before we knew we needed an exit. 

The fever between us grew,


But not in that once newlywed-heat way

all sweat and gasp and blush, no,


now our marriage has bubbled to blister.

What does a love language mean


when we have already stopped speaking?

Does our zodiac sign tell us


how to apologize, how to dismantle

the bricks we’ve built up between our bodies?


The rain is getting inside again.

We cover everything in plastic,


the furniture, my books, his guitar,

but we forget to shelter ourselves.


I wish I knew how to be his

umbrella, his coat,


a thick cowl scarf around his neck,

enough warmth to survive winter.


Kimberly Casey was born and raised in Massachusetts, though she now calls Huntsville, Alabama home. She is the Founder and President of Out Loud Huntsville, a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring community outreach and activism through written and spoken word. She received her MFA from Pacific University in 2021. Her first book of poetry, Where The Water Begins, is available through Riot In Your Throat Press.


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