The Layers In Between

by Catherine Zickgraf

You love me here
where we meet at our graves.
Jesus saves, if you let Him.
And I know the Bible
is just an arm’s length away
in the drawer under the ashtray. . .

the cheap painting above the bed,
like a headstone in the gold dust of afternoon,
I’m dressing fast, leaving the room—
the kids’ bus is almost on its way.

Since the beginning of our days,
they’ve stacked dead folks who can’t pay
in pauper graves, digging a massive hole,
laying nailed-shut boxes in layers and rows
like motel rooms where we secretly fuck
and decay.

My spirit is a slave to my blood flow.
I practice my idolatry on you.
And in the in between days without you,
I wake up thinking about you.

But when I scarf my arms around you,
I coil your limbs, swim your currents
of rain, flow my blood through your veins—
I harbor you,
hold you home inside me/kneel beside
your streams through my yard. . .
you pulse like stars
throwing sharpened swords.
You force the heat through my heart.

Here we are in our skin again,
here we are in this trance.
You make me shake when you pull away. . .
The days go by,
I know the earth will break apart.
But you spin the world in my direction—
it rotates around my heart.


Catherine Zickgraf has shared her poetry in Spain, Puerto Rico, and throughout the continental US. See her perform at She hosts Augusta, Georgia’s MAD Open Mic every Thursday, yet homeschooling her boys inspires her the most at the moment.


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I am a dreamer, as well as a doer, who lives in the North Georgia mountains. I started my publishing journey August of 2013, have had moderate success, but my utmost passion is my "daytime" job, which is working with adults who are constantly striving to better their lives as they obtain the GED credential.

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