Poor Claudia published poetry, prose and conversations online and in print from 2009 to 2018.

K.T. Billey

Three Poems

  • Your Stomach or Mine?
  • Role Call
  • And Response

Your Stomach or Mine?

The sun is thin, the air is triage, and you,

you are an acolyte—an adult falcon

inside me, wondering where that screech

came from. Goes to. Feeds. It’s not injury, no
sand on new graves or one-night bout

of grief. When we lost power I called

twice, afraid to forget how

onslaught behaves: lighting brass

votives, brunching by the robin egg

church. Remind me why bruises change

colour while you supervise this hack job

though your last last cross-stitch.

Spin my funeral necklace, just so

it hides the vulgar mechanics, the hook

and eye of death turning tricks.

I heard it. It left a message

in metallic thread on the mirror

that broke in the storm, so I let

my molars rot and made batteries

with the fillings. They feel better, biting

down. The tin foil reminds me

there’s a little bit of enemy

in everyone I love, and this

is updraft, beat by beat, and tailspin.

Nothing umbilical about it.

Role Call

After all that conditioning, it took four

watches to sprain her wrist, the weight of them
combined with our difference

in age. Covered in silver

and second hands, she burnt

down the theatre, and in that so-called fall

I’m set to be the tilt saying maybe

we already had our moment,_ but I’ll try

to come on cue one more time, splashing

ash, cooing muck and smite and mire.

I don’t know how to act, now, but there

are generations, and we’re a slice

on the timeline that believes

in silicone—medical grade, as an example

of something that could last. After the fire

we’ll still have diamonds and plugs

jutting from the ground like canines.

No matter who we are tonight, we paid for this

texture. Every era craves the salt

rub, a flared base, freckles

on someone else’s back. Personality—a toy

to lessen the blow. Here. Present._

And Response

Sensing ourselves

prey, in that predicament

we sought shelter

in an ox carcass,

scraping its walls

for strings of protein.

We did it for warmth,

we said, over handfuls

of cat’s cradle.

And sure, it’s fucking cold

in the ribs, but there

never was a shortage

of heat. We just needed a reason

to rough up our palms, someone

to sniff the needles

after we pissed in the pines,

whistling while we worked.

We were children then,

pre-war and soft-core,

cracking the code

of our shiny one-piece.

That warping favourite.

K.T. Billey

K.T. Billey recently completed her MFA in Poetry at Columbia University, where she also spent a year as an Undergraduate Teaching Fellow. Originally from rural Alberta, Canada, her poems have appeared in CutBank, The New Orleans Review, Phantom Limb, Ghost Proposal and others. Translations have appeared in Palabras Errantes and are forthcoming in a yet-to-be-named anthology from Columbia University Press. She is an Assistant Editor for Asymptote, poetry curator for Lamprophonic Reading Series, and a Girls Write Now mentor. Say hello at ktbilley.com.