Kiesa Kay



Kiesa Kay



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Kiesa Kay was raised and lived in Kansas for thirty years. She graduated with a B.S. in journalism and M.A. in English from the University of Kansas. She travels frequently, but always find her way home to the Sunshine State.


Kay has read poetry for Cottonwood Review and Many Mountains Moving.  She also reviewed books of poetry for New Hope International. Kay is a member of the Toe River Poets in Micaville, North Carolina.  


Kay’s publications include 3 chapbooks: New Entity (edited by Thomas Zvi Wilson), CARESS: Poems for Lovers and WINDSTORM: Poetry of Divorce.


Her poems have appeared in: Coal City Review, Communities, Sentinel, Mandy’s Meanderings,  Kansas City Star, I-70 Review, Sisters Today, Radiance, Phoebe, Finding Our Own Ways, Awakening and several others.


A book of poetry is currently under consideration with a Kansas publisher.







Fairies twirled in the honeysuckle that twined

up the east side of that Kansas lake cottage.  They rose beside

little Anne when she hid in the glossy green leaves.

In shade she tasted honey one drop

at a time from the blossoms, pulling

stamens taut and catching the dewy droplets

on the tip of her tongue, delicious comfort. She wondered

how a thousand drops of  honeysuckle juice

would taste  all at once. Decades later,

she found exactly that sweet flavor surging

from the one she loved,  a thousand at once,

a nectar waterfall of honeysuckle droplets.




Memory Slips


Joe looked an hour for his eyeglasses.

They turned up on his face.

He searched thirty minutes for his camera bag –

The one strapped across his shoulder.

For four hours the living room got a thorough inspection

Till the car keys appeared in his black overcoat.


It only gets worse, he told Lily, his wife for fifty years.

When she went to check the mailbox,

Joe thought she'd left him for good.

He rocked and moaned quietly in the chair

He'd hewn by hand from a red oak tree

Felled near the barn in a winter windstorm.


Lily saw him weeping. She threw down the bills,

Ran to his lap and kissed his face,

unbuttoned his shirt;

her hand on his heart always soothed him.

Lady, I don't know who you are, he said,

But when my wife gets back, you'll be sorry.


She showed him her wedding ring

And how it matched his,

Engraved "Ever After."

Later he'd accuse her of stealing the ring

But this time he believed her.


Joe plaited her hair into two silver braids.

Let's sing our song, he demanded.

His baritone lilt and her sweet soprano

Melded in the mist of the morning.




Cactus Court


They came, the men in glasses,

and inspected my shoes for seeds,

the kind that would prove

I'd been wandering.


Now I rest in this desert,

dust coating my skin.

my sand-scorched feet bare.

Someone's stolen my shoes.


At night the coyotes circle,

snapping the silence.

I beg them to carry me.


The men in their glasses

can not keep me in this place.

Bone by bone,

I am still traveling.







All poetry on this page
© b
y Kiesa Kay, 2009 



Potter Lake


My golden son

                runs beside me

across icy ripples and ridges.

                He touches gray-soggy snow.

                "Don't eat this, Momma."

His woolen mittens clap together

                with a gentle-soft pat.

                "Where did the ducks go, Momma?"

                "South," I tell him.

                "Ducks can't swim on ice."

The pond sculpted tiny castles-on-mountains

                as I coaxed him back from its edge.

                I hug him close.

                "Our heartbeats are touching, Momma."

Frozen brown-yellow grass crackles

                beneath our galoshes.

We race to the biggest tree, so big

                when my son stands on one side

                and I stand on the other

                our arms around that tree don't meet.

"Look," I whisper, and he does.

                "See how these branches twist

                against each other.

Long ago maybe the wind put them here

                and they stayed that way.  See?"

We run as fast as we can around the tree.

We rub the algae-covered bark with our cold noses.

We gasp deep breaths of icy clean air.

We look together at the sun

                as it emerges from gray clouds.

We run together

                laughing, laughing.

My son takes my hand,

                his blue eyes the shade of his daddy's eyes.

                I remember shielding him with my body

                as his daddy slapped my face.

"Momma, Momma,"

                he grins at me,

                he hugs me close.

"Momma, we're living







Chris Saves


Forty in all, sports cars, pickup trucks, rebuilt junkers,

peeled out full-throttle on the spot where his wheels

last touched pavement, next to that telephone pole.

The scent of motor oil lingered in the breeze for hours,

mingling with wind prayers, fuzz blown from dandelions.

Christopher's mother, known for her tenderness,

the one who always shared her pillow, the one

who gave away the last of her popcorn;

This mother straightened the hood

of her son's sweatshirt for the last time.

Hard rain threatened, so she handed out orange

plastic ponchos for the brightest graveyard gathering,

the largest funeral ever in Springhill, Kansas.

Chris left laughter in his wake.

Rich folks dead get stone angels,

bridges named after them,

bronze plaques in bell towers

surrounded by lilacs and rosebushes.

One memorial lives for Christopher:

His sister emblazoned his name across her shoulder blades,

a blue tattoo memorial of wings and roses,

permanent and irrevocable.

And then the Chris stories began, like this:

The brakes failed in my truck as I plunged downhill

toward a school building. I down-shifted and prayed

hard to Christopher, patron saint of travelers.

Suddenly I felt as if the truck had become a roller coaster,

end over end. A loud yee-haw sounded in my ears.

My truck went safe, and I knew Chris had saved me,

even as he'd shown me that his own death held no fear.

One by one, his friends found themselves surviving

the impossible, hearing that whoop of laughter.

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