Katherine Soniat



There’s a vortex
at the end of every sudden
blue deceleration—
that pulls
down through
the waves, then kicks
a face around in sand.

Her eyes a lucid green now held space open for the ocean.
Or maybe this was just another way of seeing the shore birds—
upside-down feathers and root hairs of the dunes ripped loose.

Her birdlike vow was to remain above any form
of heaviness, but she’d gotten so good at sitting, she was the soul
of lard itself, while outside a golden season drifted down. The leaves
were changing colors, which only brought back his love notes painted
on her toe nails—each mark miniscule and scrupulously incised.


Indeterminate Length of String

Your kite, an aquatic diamond, blows above the ocean.

Its tail
from the photo
to its likeness
on your bedroom

Raku tile no longer but form with a heart.

Slowly it cooled and colored with softness
in the upper left corner.
watery twilights coming through.

At dark we held a candle to that organ. Heart
that arcs and deflates.                          And again.

Existential rainbow for the half-filled or empty.

Each wandering palimpsest marks a world’s beginning.

Breath on coals.               Wind on water.

Kite by day.                          A potter’s heart at night
with its two careless human keepers.


Katherine Soniat’s sixth collection of poetry—A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge—is recently out from Dream Horse Press. The Swing Girl (Louisiana State University Press) was selected as Best Collection of 2011 by the Poetry Council of North Carolina. A Shared Life won the Iowa Poetry Prize. Her new manuscript is The Secret Where. Work has appeared recently in World Poetry Portfolio #60, Citron, Prairie Schooner (Waterfusion), StorySouth, and Connotations Press. She teaches in the Great Smokies Writers Program at UNC—Asheville. Website:


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MadHat, Issue 15, Winter 2013-2014