Kathleen E. Krause

Finding Paradise

(for Mikko)

Some things come to me, calm, like-
Soaking in seaweed
he hangs in the sleepy lagoon

No he doesn't.

He must have heard it whispered:
"Go back to naked
and run in fleshling circles"

His grab and spark must have misguided him,
he would not have done this.

So I'll make up a poetic existence for him.
It'll sound so sad
and maybe I'll find some fucking
metaphor or somehow make him into art.

there was news for me
that evening
i was peace and smile just minutes before

it was my brother's voice
my dear brother, so dreading to tell me,
told me: "Mikko. . . he's gone"

and bugs that do not exist
stung my stomach
and i fell


To try to put you on this page
is disaster
but if I don't, you are nowhere.

And you are nothing now.
You've become a part of me,
since you are no longer you.
I hope you don't mind.

That scar on your chest,
did it stink when they burned you?
Maybe the thought of that stench is all I can have
to hurt me as much as you hurt you,
or did you save you?

Advice says to think of you as beauty.
So I think of your baseball thighs
with that clean peach fuzz,
and your goofy grin.
I eat and enjoy your pepperoni pizzas
and miss you.
It's really weird, because you're just no more.

listen! wait! don't do it! don't fucking do it!
pull over on your road,
get out of danger, stop and get out.
walk to the field, there must be one nearby,
and look up at the moon.
can you feel it?
stay with me, please.

Only now I put you in my poetry?
What about before?
Why did I wait?

Hey, remember that time in the summer
we were parked in your parents' car,
hanging out.
I opened up the glove compartment.
Ben Gay!
Without a word, just mischief and giggles,
we rolled up the windows,
opened the tube, and in that stifling
midsummer heat, smeared it all over us.
Ouch! But Ooooh!

Yeah, well, if you didn't leave we could've kept this memory.
I'll keep my half, but what do I do with yours?
I guess I'll leave it here in case you change your mind and come back.

You are the boy, my friend,
as blond as sand,
alive as me.
I look out the window
of my parents' house
into yours.
I hear my voice yelling your name
from below your window
to come out and play,
or as we got older, to go for a walk.
I still know your phone number,
can still hear you laugh.

The last time I saw you was the first time
we kissed.
Did you know it then?
Is that why you wanted to kiss me?
Nice, your lips were so nice.

If you'd only called I'd have...
If you'd just...
You would not have done this if I...

You went to sleep forever.
The strength of this command
has changed me forever.

When I turned 27 I felt guilty for outliving you.
Don't you turn your back on me, don't you do it.
You did it, but you didn't.
you did something else.
You saved yourself.
It's not about me.

Kathleen E. Krause was winner of Phoebe's 2001 Greg Grummer Poetry Contest, chosen by Brenda Hillman. Her work has appeared in Agni, canwehaveourballback?, LIT, Lungfull!, Pennsylvania English, Salonika, and The Four Way Reader #2. In the winter of 1999, she guest-edited an issue of Salonika. Her chapbook, Broth, was published in 1997 by Linear Arts. She lives in Brooklyn.


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