Cate Lycurgus

We make amends with letter writing: as sympathy note, report
of a son’s height marked on the door to his father serving 
time. & check for word—days & Sundays—the red flag stays
erect. I tell someone I’ll write you a letter & what I’m saying is
I don’t know where to put my hands. Penmanship stretches
thinner & thinner as though I could switch to wire, wave, light—
alight beneath your skin. I want the letter reminding me 
to not forget lotion, first. That you keep my hair tie 
around your wrist, snapping it all the time so as 
to stun yourself back from ghost. Where both of us step 
to the parking garage, bodies pressed against concrete. Here 
we are, & chapped. Where is the letter for no going back,
of a two-step grown too big, our motion that needs all-caps? 
With hunger the only certain post one cannot keep, keep away—
​​​​​                                    it’s sealed, we’ve ruined taste. 


Cate Lycurgus’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in American Poetry ReviewTin House, Gulf Coast Online, and elsewhere. A 2014 Ruth Lilly Fellowship Finalist, she has also received scholarships from Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences and was recently named one of Narrative’s 30 Under 30 Featured Writers. Cate currently lives south of San Francisco, California, where she edits interviews for 32 Poems and teaches professional writing to aspiring accountants. 

Photo by Barbara W.