Kate Kadleck: a poem



Excuse Me, I Am Not Myself

Did you know that the Danish word for boyfriend

is genderless, translates only to dearest?

For those four frothy months, everything was new:

the names, the trains, the alphabet.

Now my heart is a slashed O that

no one knows how to pronounce.

This autumn, I am scattered leaves.

My small talk has never been smaller.

I think of a word and its antonym leaps

from my lips. Whatever I do, don't hold me

accountable. I haven't been held

by a body I believed in for too many years.

Last Saturday, at the psychiatrist's, my ankle

cracked exactly like a twig underfoot,

and both of us shook from the brokenness.

My best friend texts pictures of Papillons,

buys me microwavable dinners, suggests

shiny new wall art to fill all the space.

"Go pick out a God", my father advises.

Preferably his, but any old deity should do

the trick. Each evening, I wash down

my pills in my large white apartment

and pray the way nobody taught me.



Kate Kadleck is a marriage and family therapist and lifelong (wannabe) wordsmith. Her work was previously published in Prairie Margins, The Whale, and Persimmons. She grew up in a suburb of Chicago and attended college in Amish Country, Ohio. Kate now lives just outside Minneapolis, Minnesota with her partner and her rescue mutt, Rupert.