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February 2022

2 Poems by Kelli Lage

I found you in songs back then and still hear their whispers now.

By Kelli Lage

February 12, 2022

2 Poems by Kelli Lage


I Write You a Letter and My Hands Feel Sick

My hands feel sick when I dig through old dirt.

I threw my bracelet out the Pontiac’s window

on the road by the community college when I was eighteen.
I told myself it would mean I was untethered

but I instantly missed its grip on my wrist.

After a few years of letting the sun rest in my lap,

vines would make a new home around my arms.

I don’t send you words from my twenty-five-year-old mouth

because I know it would unintentionally 

send shivers up a spine that no longer bends for me.

This was supposed to be an apology

but I’m furious I’m still writing to you.

I shattered your teenage years.

But your ghost continues to splinter my aging hands.

I put a stake in the ground that oozes with honey.

I’ve drunk from it since I left our hometown.

Yet, whenever I stick out my neck to taste the dance of the wind

your hands clutch my throat to cut me off from earth’s embrace.

He is the woodlands and you are still a forest fire.

I know, because your name still scorches my veins.

To the real you, I’m glad you made it out alive

and I hope the aches I placed in your chest melted like February ice.

But this letter has turned to the ghost of you.

The home in my head is occupied by the ghost of myself too.

She built a cannon and sets off fireworks in an empty sky

each year when the itch of summer creeps up my legs.

Today I stand up to her and the fire.

I’m tearing your hands from my body

and leaving you to the river at night.

May she sizzle out with you.


The Haunted Hymn of a Past Lover

I found you in songs back then and still hear their whispers now.

Their coos wrap around my neck

and send shivers through my body that spew out of my teeth.

I used to curl into your memory,

living by the nostalgia pulsating through me.

Now, I’m mad I can’t listen to my favorite old tunes without being haunted.

You live in husky bellows and folk songs meant for midnight lovers.

If I could rip you out of hymns and drown your voice in the river, I would.

But you made a home with sirens.

Making a deal that when they screeched to sailors,

you would screech to my veins and lure my mind to past lifetimes.

I turn off the volume and your icy fists pound on my windows.

My stomach now a pit of fire. Perhaps the heat will melt you away.

Kelli Lage lives in the Midwest countryside. Lage is currently earning her degree in Secondary English Education and works as a substitute teacher. Awards: Special Award for First-time Entrant, 2020, Iowa Poetry Association. Read more of her work at

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