A Poem About Katie in Two Parts: I Should Be Constantly
Kate Dougherty

We can trace her ankle and heel

and watch the hands how long it takes her

to make our contact.


I caress her lips and promise the rest of us

I’m still the same person you’ve always known,

that same girl.


The one who saved the old blue kitty,

knotted a ribbon around her neck.

The towhead gone and saved.

The soft, wet lips.


See it.


Katie arrived holding her belly,

a seed, she cried, blossomed

and died. How many ways can we tell it?

gate arm lifted and car drove through.

boy pedaled bike on sidewalk, crossing

driveway. car struck boy and driver hit brakes.

bike toppled. boy dropped knee,

elbow on cobblestone. children playing

outside howled.

Katie screamed.


She’d worn a patterned linen

now soaked between her legs. It wasn’t a warm.

At parts so thick it clot to the skin.

Guffaw. We untaped and unfolded the elastic envelope.

We cushioned her. We kissed her knee

and fell to our elbows in muck.