Thursday, June 1, 2023





Speaking of rainbows, today’s was magnetic. Of course,

absent the rain, shouldn’t it be called a hallucination? We fell


over ourselves trying to get to the end of it. “The gold!” You

cried, “Is utterly unverifiable,” like Don Quixote, except he


chased windmills. I stuttered into the numbness wanting to say,

“I’m here!” in spite of the lie in it. Something was not right


about the day, rainbows, or plain-bows, aren’t supposed to set

people on edge, yet this one did. At the closest point, you were


red, a deep-hearted, open-veined geyser. I was orange, not a

spray-tan snafu, but naked, moist, like skinless peach. Oh,


how the others squealed! Their empty hands holding tight to

leprechauns, delirious, drunk on green and blue charging like


donkeys in an indigo dream. Until we fell, spilling our

serpents, crawling after spare change, choked and empty things,


discarded wrappers, broken bottles, evaporated

quixotic arches of ephemeral glee.


There’s not enough left in us to say, “Goodbye.”

So, we lay here in the melting sun,


Remembering as if we were together,

Having left without saying a word.




As a child, I knew the reservation blues,

Cattails, mosquito swamps, lost territory,

lost time, and booze.


Uncle, “Is it still sleep if you can’t wake up?”


So sweet are copper brown eyes, lost like

pennies in the mud, giving luck to the rich.

We, “small fries” painted red, yellow, and

turquoise trinkets, miniature totem poles for

tourists watching poverty dance, in costume,

to a foreign beat.

The Star Spangled Banner or, I pledge

allegiance to—wet wool, tobacco and

smoldering fires. I ask,


“Uncle, do all great spirits turn to shadows

Behind missing trees?”


but he’s asleep, so I make a smiley face

out of Lucky beer caps and wonder if I’ll

sleep like they do when I’m his age.




My last glass went down on the top note

of Il Dolce Suono Lucia di Lammermoor.

From there, I fell upward to the cat cloud,

My mouth fur-thick, thick with fur—

I can’t even say it.

For a second the sunlit tabby arched high,

Reaching for invisible stars. Why daytime?

This diva’s done, consumed by fire and sun,

over here, adrift on sweat island, miles

from any ocean, still looking for that note.

I hear myself say, “It can’t be no place,”

and imagine that sky-cat’s claws in motion,

kneading the air into tendrils of vapor,

distilling breakfast like a good kitty.

Such a pity that I don’t make sense anymore,

praying to an empty glass, in case God

helps those that fuck themselves.




Our family joy

fell into the chasm

where my heart

now beats alone

surrounded by tears,

memories a merciless loss

Where are you now my father,

your generous heart,

your strong spirit?

Out there in the ether,

is there sorrow between us,

all I cannot give back,

all we’ll never get to do?

Are you free as we once agreed

was the goal, never old,

still laughing in the love

our family holds?

I’ll honor you in flowers,

poetry, and prayer

I hope beyond our lives,

our mutual care will,

someday, reconnect

as if we’re each a puzzle piece,

fitting in again, in an

ancestral work of art

beyond this fragmented

world of loss




KELLE GRACE GADDIS is the author of three books My Myths published by Yellow Chair Review, When I’m Not Myself published by Cyberwit, and An Uncertain Light, forthcoming from Cyberwit 2023. Her work has appeared in Interim, BlazeVOX, Rye Whiskey Review, Chicken Soup For The Soul, Dispatches Editions, The Till, DoveTales, Knot Literary Magazine, Vending Machine Presses “Very Fine Writing,” Fiction War Magazine and elsewhere. Ms. Gaddis is a 4Culture “Poetry on the Buses” contest winner in 2015 and 2018. She won a monetary prize in the National Fiction War Contest of 2018 and has placed in the top ten of the NYC Fiction Contest three times.

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