"Making Matcha in the Afternoon" and "Salt"
Two poems about mythology, dreams, and imagination
Kate Wylie (she/they) is a poet from St. Louis, Missouri. Wylie graduated from Webster University in 2018, reads fiction for The New Southern Fugitives, and has published poetry across America. Wylie is currently studying under 2023 Guggenheim Award winner Shara McCallum at Pacific University.
Making Matcha in the Afternoon
Your body is an unturned stone in our bed.
My hands are warm. I want to melt you.
Listen. Wind-salt whisper. Glass bottles
hanging in cypress trees. Blue algae
ancestors, handful of sunflower seeds.
Galileo stands at his windowsill
getting better acquainted with death, tilting
his telescope into the darkening sky. This is how
to revere in reverse.
I skin both knees on the sidewalk,
then shoplift a pocketful of radishes, sing in my sleep
about the snowcone stand destroyed by rain
and fishbones nailed to windowless houses.
The heatwaves have silenced even cicadas.
My palms aren’t flame
but water. People gather by the sea
with cups of green tea
to talk about the man riding through town on a vespa.
He forgoes a helmet, cigarette dangling from his mouth.
This is how to love the seventh of seven sons,
demons strapped to his back, that moonlit travel,
his sure unraveling.
This is how autumn comes to Bourbonville.
Ants march single-file along the pane.
Burnt orange oaks and overburdened Fuji branches
reach toward one another.
Leaves collect along the fenceline.
This is how Galileo plays God
again, leaning from the Northern tower, one finger
gesturing toward Jupiter, another balancing
Libra’s scales, attempting to justice the universe
while the moon and sun waltz
to a song he’s never heard before.
Once more, the cards show
queen of swords reversed,
coffers and coffins,
horses trotting single-file.
She signals destruction,
mirrors and marriage.
Please, Adonis, point me
in the direction of affection.
Your muscled body shining
against the brine of mine;
sweat, heat, our gravitational
string of tragically bad habits.
Where orange meets blue,
a queue of broken hearts.
East beach, overrun
by towheaded blondes,
tourists laying together
and sun-bleached sand. Please,
Adonis, I see you
everywhere. Tell me
the story of two tireless fish
so I feel less
alone, insane, less like the moon
hanging her head
in a sky of friendly starlight.
Once more, I’m down here digging
my own god damn grave;
the dirt slips right through
these unwebbed fingers.
I didn’t sleep, but spent all night wandering
the river of dreams, its dark water
reaching for my ankles.
Once more, it calls me
lover. I wish I was
some kind of fighter.
These days glide by
on cold silver ice skates;
I reach out to make them stop
but break my wrist instead.
Please, Adonis, tell the serpent
to depart. Venus stands
on seashell edge, birthed from foam,
trying not to weep now. Please
say something sweet.
Become a slice of watermelon
in the palm of my marbled hand.
Soft Star Magazine is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support the magazine, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.