Guest Poet Kate Skola


"So I breed fear in the hands of innocent boys."
She said,
While reaching for a Kleenex
In the usual AA meeting that month
	On the third Tuesday
"YES ME!" I cry into the valley of sober eyes
	and destroyed lives
"YES ME!" I struggle for the words
	at the knees of my mother
		grasping for an ankle
				kicked back
					slapped back
						fury back
							emotions back
The situation is abnormal for some, home to others
	And I think that I love her
	And I need her

And the woman blows her nose
Solidly in the granite room
On 8th street 
Park West
With the shadows of children
Making the night
And a bottle is passed around
And chants are spoken to the gods
And the relatives
Wait at the window for salvation
And for their corned beef hash
	That night for supper
	In the messy bowls left unclean
	By the demons lurking in the kitchen
And I say, 
"Mother, the TV is on. Listen. Watch. Put down the disease and put down the
child-hood nightmares of cousins touching
and teeth clattering cold
and alone
with no one to throw you 
a bone"
and the Kleenex is stuffed into her pocket with so many others
dripping with tears of their own disillusion.

February, 1998

Kate Skola's Questions:

I would like to know if this is too scattered and the if the image is unclear. Is there anything that deeply confuses the reader? Sometimes I realize my poetry is very hard to readily understand but I would like to know if there is anything too off.

Correspond with Kate Skola at
with your ideas about this poem.

The Albany Poetry Workshop