Katie Staten

Life through a Literary Lens

Ode to Outside

I love you Outside, with your chaos and din.
I miss you, Outside, and the way you aren’t In.
I miss going shopping for things I don’t need.
(I could use Amazon, but my morals impede.)
I miss going to restaurants; without them I’m lost.
I know I’m saving money, but god, at what cost?
Outside is full of playgrounds, and parks, and picnics too.
It’s got malls and museums and trips to the zoo.
I miss you so much, Outside, it makes my head spin.
(But I know once I can go Outside, I’ll want to stay In.)


we’ll wait here in the quiet, love
the sacred softness that we’ve always known
in the lull after the lullaby / ends
god knows we’re broke and breaking, love
but we’ll find comfort in this makeshift home


I know it’s not quite in the spirit of NaPoWriMo to leave a piece unfinished, but aren’t these all first drafts anyway? Based on the prompt in this post.

Line Art

let some blood out, girl.
there’s more to this
than exhibitionism.
make line art of your veins
laid end to end.
give the hungry something
to devour.
be brave, and afraid.
there’s more to this
than honesty.


based on the prompt in this post.

A problem for Future Me

HD wallpaper: Intimate, woman wearing book inside room, reading ...

I’m only a thief
from myself: stealing a book
from tomorrow’s time.


Based on the prompt in this post.

Depression, or Sysiphus

It’s one long game of chess I never win:
When all my pawns are gone, I start anew.
Each time I play the same first move again–
it’s one long game of chess I never win.
Despite the same mistakes, I still begin
the game in hopes this time I’ll follow through.
It’s one long game of chess I never win.
When all my pawns are gone I start anew.


Based on the prompt in this post.

Of flowers and spies

I used to think more highly of your flowers
and the language I was told they could convey.
Then I learned each flower’s just a concept
and not a single word, sentence or phrase.

I thought you could compose a code in roses:
“The empire’s fallen; we attack at dawn.”
Turns out they just mean love, or death, or friendship,
nothing to plan assassinations on.

If you cannot encode a hidden message
of secrets and betrayals by bouquet;
if this language can’t be one of spies,
I care not what your petals have to say.

But I’ve found the language goes beyond just flowers.
It’s trees and ferns and shrubs and plants you eat.
Though many of the prettiest are poisons,
potatoes mean benevolence. That’s neat.

So though I can’t deny I’m disappointed
I can’t plan crime using forget-me-nots,
at least I’ve always been correct in thinking
There’s kindness in the form of tater tots.


Based on the prompt in this post. Sometimes you just can’t take things too seriously, y’know?


                    begins picking
                                                       at my skin

                                            at first
                         until I unravel

                                            like a
                    spool of string

Social Distancing


Based on the prompt in this post.

A poem beginning with a line by Richard Siken

File:F5 tornado Elie Manitoba 2007.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Hush, my sweet. These tornadoes are for you.
Midwest baby, all field and soil;
we all need to learn wrath a little early.
How else do we survive in so much open?
You too one day will need to know
how to raise the earth or raze a city,
make a cloud of the dirt they gave you.
You thunder child. You creature of wind.
Kiss the ground with gratitude–
and make them pray.


Based on the prompt in this post.

Llandudno in Quarantine

When disaster strikes, it leaves a postcard city,
immaculate, as the people who kept the hedges neat
become ghosts all in a moment. Orderly streets
lined with orderly trees and orderly lamp posts
are suddenly only a picture, undisturbed. But
like the eye of a storm, where chaos leaves peace,
new chaos reigns. Horned kings grow brave,
venture into the new quiet, and devour it.


Based on the prompt in this post, and this news article.