Katie Staten

Life through a Literary Lens

NaPoWriMo #30 – Immortal

There’s a town in Norway where it’s illegal to die.
I’d like to take you there. We could sprawl out beneath the city’s sky
and be untouchable, you and I.
We can bring our aging cat–
she can live with us under that same endless vat
of black and glitter. We’ll be there as long as the stars
themselves. Watch the unlucky drive on through in expensive cars
while we keep our infinite secret. We can’t travel far
but why leave when you’ve got a home so glorious?
We’ll live forever, outrun death’s greedy gaping maw–
or else break this sacred crazy law
and die as criminals, notorious.

And done. Second completion of NaPoWriMo, and this one was much better than the first I think. Next time I’ll do better still. A month-in-review will be up as soon as my writer’s burnout lets up. Shouldn’t be too terribly long.


NaPoWriMo #29 – Black Lake

To whoever thinks this black lake dismal:
Look closer at the lilies.
They way their petals fold back,
vulnerable; the way they shine
reflecting the moonlight, which is to say
reflecting the sunlight, isn’t it?
The lilies are our own little sun
making silhouettes of us,
of those thirsty trees.
Their luminescence is in our faces,
our eyes are our own lilies,
this boat our own black lake.
Lie down with me
and quite pleasantly drown with me.

Based on this prompt using this poem.

NaPoWriMo #28 – Postcard

I don’t know what’s in the water here but I keep growing wings. I pull them out of my back and they take off, leaving the bleeding behind, each one going somewhere else I’ve never been. I wake up the next morning and they’re there, a new color, like I’m a cocoon trapped mid-metamorphosis. I’m not sure where they end up. I keep thinking of butterfly wings attached to nothing raining down on places I can’t be. If you should find one, write back to me.

Based on this prompt and this picture.

NaPoWriMo #27 – Full Moon

It is not the moon’s fault
her light makes the mind
turn animal. She is,
after all, only a mirror.

NaPoWriMo #26 – Olivia

She traps my thumb in a vice-like grip
too strong for such small hands,
and I sing Elvis–

Take my hand,
take my whole life too–

and she does. Lord,
she does, and her eyelids
flutter closed, little
by little

and I hear her breathing

even has her grip
refuses to loosen.

And her skin is the softest
thing I’ve ever touched,
and I wonder if I could really have been
this new once–

I can’t help
falling in love–

I kiss her forehead
and can taste the very stardust
she’s made of.

NaPoWriMo #25 – Warning

Warning: Contains enough salt
to supply McDonald’s for a year.

Warning: This vessel is on autopilot
and has a broken GPS.

And broken speakers,
and a broken volume knob,
and an excess of show tunes stored.

Warning: Memory full.
(It was limited in the first place.)

Warning: High ledges
at which to panic
or from which to jump
to insane conclusions.

Warning: quick temper.
Can only be placated with food.
Sweets suggested; supplies own salt.

NaPoWriMo #24 – Elegy for This Poem

It died before it even had a chance to start.
There will be no cremation,
because there is nothing to burn.
It will speak at its own funeral,
where there will be no body,
nor crowd of mourners.
Just open earth,
a day of respectful silent clouds
holding back their tears.

NaPoWriMo #23 – Philosophy

Philosophy is for the rich,
my dad said to me once.
The poor, we don’t have time
to sit and think.

And I thought about the irony
in that he said this while fishing
the lake a few blocks from home,
line out gaining slack,
as we both drank in the changing leaves
and the breeze that wound through them,
breathed deep and watched the tip
of the fishing rods with such intent
it was almost like meditating.

And I thought about the irony
in that he said this at all.
Lord knows my family knew poor.
Knew food stamps. Knew barely knowing
one another, on opposite sides
of a long work day. Knew only one kind
of security, which was the knowledge
that there was always more work to be done
to stay above water.

I’ll be working ’til they day
they start throwing dirt on me, he said,
his patient bobber floating on the surface
of the patient lake. And I thought about these two
unrelated statements for decades,
my mind always watching the dirt
and the shovels.

NaPoWriMo #22 – Constellations


One by one,
the little dots of light

slowly, at first,
so that the first one looked
like a lone distant satellite
traversing across the sky.

Then more–
pinpricks passing one
another with greater speed,
and before long it was as if the earth
in all its greed was simply spinning too
fast. Dizzying, the way the constellations
danced, Orion in a waltz with Cassiopeia, and how
the great bear and the small one pranced, and all the signs,
Cancer and Scorpio, Gemini and Leo, rearranging the calendar
as if by design until suddenly it all came to a grind-


Everything in its place.
One could almost wonder
if it was a dream,
if only you could remember

if this is where
they had all

NaPoWriMo #21 – Narcissus

Narcissus reaches out to stroke
a perfect, delicate cheek,
tenderly, and is startled
when he finds ripples reaching
across the face of his adored,
as if they were wrinkles–
as if his beloved had aged
a hundred years in an instant.
How lucky he is, then,
to have been cursed;
to have his blood reincarnated
into a kind of beauty
whose petals could bend low
to stroke the water for millennia.