Wednesday, 31 May 2017

A poem by Kara Knickerbocker

Remember When

I caught salamanders from the pond beside our house—
counted twenty orange speckled bodies
inside the glass bowl I stole from the kitchen.

Remember how they gripped sides of their new home
for a way out
only to slide down, plop
on top of each other

I put flat rocks & leaves at the bottom,
made it home—
remember how much I loved that they couldn’t escape
(unless I let them)

I wanted so badly to keep them,
snuck the bowl upstairs to your bedroom—
I can’t remember where you were
but I was there, careful to listen
for creaks of floorboards/ the weight of someone
sure to find me

They climbed across the plains of my open palms,
pawed at the air when held up from the tail
and in the slow blink of a golden eye
maybe I knew it was wrong
so I kissed closed mouths—
remember their still-wet webbed feet
made me feel like a mother

Remember I didn’t know what salamanders ate
pushed the bowl far under your bed when called for dinner
never washed my hands of their spots—
forgot after school the next day

Remember the slap of stench in the morning,
murky with fresh death—
remember the look on my face when
mother said she was missing a bowl

Kara Knickerbocker is a poet and writer from Saegertown, Pennsylvania. She received her B.A. in English from Westminster College in 2012. Her poetry and essays have been published or are forthcoming in print and online publications including: Construction, Longridge Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, One Sentence Poems, and the anthology Voices from the Attic Vol XXII, among others. She lives in Pittsburgh where she works at Carnegie Mellon University and writes with Carlow University’s Madwomen in the Attic workshops. Her debut chapbook, Next to Everything that is Breakable is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.

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