by Kayla King

They don’t write about me
in stories. Such is saved for men
I couldn’t like, because I loved too much.

And I had a child once,
but of course sons always break
mothers’ hearts.

We are all ghosts
now, but we cannot meet.
We do not give gifts of holy things:

cypress and laurel and wine and honey
milked from the bees. Annunciate the gods’
names now to call them

down. Their bones shimmer if you break
them open; diaphanous disasters, all of them.
But what of you spilled into the sea?

Salt binds and the waves weeped
wines of you back to the shore.
More and more, you assure

I am to remain the mere mention of a mother
in a story, because I am a woman no one writes about.
You promise no one knows, but the universe.

I’ll watch the old gods rage from the sun.
Kiss-touched hiss of flame finds feathers first.
You exist without

burning. Fossilise that murder
of crows, now song-scorched. Not a raven,
there’s a difference. Because they talk too much,

and you wanted silence.
Oh, arrogance of ichor-filled veins.
They’ll romanticise the hell

out of hubris. Make you a warning,
and mean nothing

Kayla King | @KaylaMKing | 

Kayla King is a graduate of the Mountainview MFA. She is the author of These Are the Women We Write About, a micro-collection of poetry published by The Poetry Annals. Kayla’s fiction and poetry has been published by or is forthcoming from Plath Poetry Project, Figroot Press, Ink In Thirds Magazine, Firewords Magazine, Sobotka Literary Magazine, Fearsome Critters, Barren Magazine, Dear Movies Zine, and Twelve Winters Press, among others. You can follow Kayla’s writing journey over at her website: or her twitterings @KaylaMKing. 

Support Dear Damsels

Words are empowering – not only for the women who write them, but those who read them too.

Join our Patreon and help us continue to offer an inclusive and welcoming space for women to come together, share their words, and get a resounding response back.

Sign up to our Patreon