Poetry Publications

My poetry has appeared in many journals, including Five Points, Gargoyle, The Satirist and The Madison Review, and my chapbook,  Fairview Road, was published in February 2015. I’ve been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and I write regularly for YogaCityNYC.

Here’s a sampling of my work:

Ballad of the Never-Ending Date
Empty Table

Swedish Fish

New York City, 1980

It was at Sweet Temptation on Madison Avenue
as I dropped Swedish Fish one at a time
into a small paper bag, when my friend Danni turned
to me and said, 
You’re a kike.

I looked up surprised, stung, not by the word
but that it meant she might not like me.
I felt dirty and small and poor, though I was
none of those things. I stared back

at her eyes that reminded me of blue snowflakes,
saw my scattered reflection in them.
You don’t know what you’re talking about.
She smirked. We were 9 or 10, wearing our uniforms—

navy pinstripe jumpers over white button-down shirts.
That gift box of a store merged with her now
in all its perfect rows, strands of confection—
Her hair was the longest and the blondest, a shining mystery.

I went home with my bag of sweets and told my mother.
She probably heard it at home—She knew the family
but not well. Her father was involved
in the McCarthy hearings, and on the wrong side.

Something about her mother being ill. She called there,
and Danni didn’t call me any names after that. We had no more
play dates, which was fine because her apartment
was always dark and her mother loomed sadly.

Danni left the school eventually, and then I did.
There’s no real record of her after that. No Aha searches
or social media pages to round out the story—
Just those red fish I still pick up to take home

to my mother, who has forgotten a lot—but we still love to chew
them, and they still get stuck in our teeth.

– first appeared in Gemini Magazine 2017 (Honorable Mention in the Poetry Open Prize),

then published in “What They Bring: The Poetry of Migration and Immigration” (IP BOOKS 2020) 

Love Letter to My Lost Fish Spatula

I loved the way you looked—
a big, wide fork tapering down
to a cherry handle, just enough heft.
The way you slid beneath my tilapia—
discreetly elevating my two 3-ounce pieces.
I dreamt up recipes with you in mind,
perused the fish case with renewed intention.

The way I could leave you on a pan,
a low flame flickering—you
were always cool when I returned!
You weren’t made for dancing,
but the way we moved together and apart,
the way we made a thing soft and biteable,
how you glistened afterwards—

How I rubbed you carefully dry—your wood handle
nicked with wear—then tucked you safely away.
You didn’t rest for long. We seared summer off,
pressed and flipped through fall. Then the snow fell,
I moved, and now I can’t find you anywhere.
I’m considering replacing you if you don’t turn up soon.

– first appeared in Gargoyle, 58, 2012

Want to  read more? Email me! kathleen.kraft@gmail.com

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