Kathi Wolfe


Listen to the audio version.

A friend says I write what I hear:
This news, match slapping

kindling, sets my ears on fire.
Its tambourine flames zap my

funhouse eyes open. They
had been for so long so far

from the light — huddled
against the cold of the night.

Now, my decrepit but loyal
peepers are swept off their feet.

They hear the dragons snap,
the Furies frown. Their fingers

craftily write it down.

* * *


Listen to the audio version.

do-gooders, lusting to cure
me, won't ogle my blind,
bad-ass eyes, as I stand
in line at the coffee cart,
where I want my caffeine
fix, not their healing.

Strangers won't stare as if I'm
an exotic bird. I won't be asked
to sing like Stevie Wonder, or
why I dare to kiss a girl at a bar
when I should be safely
at home reading a Braille Bible,
drinking warm milk.

While wearing my black silk jacket
and red stilettos, I'll dance
with my lady. With no warm
milk or Braille Bible in sight, we'll
sashay before the Blindness god.

* * *


Listen to the audio version.

Putting my jacket on the coatrack
in our chalk-smelling school room,

I saw only the orange warmth
of our teacher Mrs. Smith's voice,

the yellow blur of Jimmy's pencil,
white shapes (snowflakes?) falling

against the window. My funhouse eyes
didn't see much. I wanted to see more –

Jane's tangly red hair, Frankie's
green-fingered monster socks –

until the black shape swirled
across my desk, slimier than any

worm. Creepier than any roach.
It's a swastika for your Jew daddy,

Johnny said. Then, I didn't
want to see anything any more.


*"What I Saw" is published in Love and Kumquats: New and Selected Poems forthcoming in fall 2019 from BrickHouse Books.


Kathi Wolfe's work has appeared in Poetry Magazine, The New York Times, Wordgathering and other publications. Her most recent collection Love and Kumquats: New and Selected Poems is forthcoming from BrickHouse Books in Fall 2019. She was a contributor to the anthologies QDA: A Queer Disability Anthology and Beauty Is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability. Her collection The Uppity Blind Girl Poems, winner of the Stonewall Prize, was also published by BrickHouse Books. She was a Lambda Literary Foundation 2008 Emerging Writer Fellow.