Kate Ladew




It comes drifting out of somebodyís dream

It comes drifting out of somebodyís dream
glowing from the deep like a signal fire
rocking steadily upstream as if pulled by invisible wires
a boat chipping and weathered, survivor of storms,
a little girl lying prone on the deck,
tethered by hands formed over a heart sheís struggling hard to protect.
I see her writhing, legs kicking slow
slumping backwards, strength spent
she begins a downstream descent
as the river reverses itís flow.

Hair blonde like mine, lashes dark and deep,
I mirror her movements, resigned to my unhappy sleep,
two hearts hitting hard against bracketed bones
dropping up and down like a catapult throwing stones.

Lips too large for a porcelain face
stretched tight, hiding some hurt within,
hiding so much that little body could have been
so much it wanted, and so much it didnít chase.

When our hands interlace, one young, one not yet old,
we struggle to control the boat as it rolls past everything weíve left undone,
all the little promises I was made, all the little promises I wanted to keep,
steeped in lukewarm water through frayed memories cheap to remake every time I fall asleep.

Itís a little late for the sun, a little early for the moon
and when I wake up to afternoon, I only think, it will all be over soon, so so soon.

It comes drifting out of somebodyís dream
a dream dreamt long ago.
The little girlís eyes follow me
shouting silently,
where did we go? where did we go?

almost brand new

I can still remember you looking down, laughter falling like rain
so much and so fast I thought I might drown,
waiting for the weather vain spinning on your house to lead me past some straight path I could never sustain,
some solid thing to douse the flames of my barely gone youth
flickering inside like a month old jack-o-lantern,
the gospel truth of growing up and growing old quickly enfolding me at every turn,
a cavern with eyes and a mouth.
It always looked like your house,
pricking me with that short burst of pain
when I realized all that remained was a wavering glint of promise like a stain,
one of those lifeless daisy chains you always made for me, plucked and wilting like a memory.
Itís mostly harmless, itís only you, after all,
only you laughing down on me, standing on tiptoes like you might fall
and maybe, just maybe, Iíd catch you.
Youíre still so pretty, almost brand new,
I donít notice the lines, barely I do,
running around your eyes like a seashell turned over.
Youíre still so pretty, maybe Iíll climb up and kiss you
and weíll find some city where itís always October.


the north star is not constant
it is not bright
it moves and flickers
and if you are lost you cannot trust it
My compass rattles and I wonder if hoping,
if wanting home enough will get me there
the north star is not constant
it pulsates in size and tricks your heart
I donít know if I have enough time
If youíll wait long enough
I am looking up, up, up
you wonít be there it blinks at me, a million miles away
I hope I made you happier in some way

Copyright © 2011 Kate Ladew

 Photos by Kate Ladew


"Bri Bri"

"Every Afternoon"


© 2011 Kate Ladew


Kate Ladew is a recent graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in Studio Art.