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Two Poems by Karo Ska


rectangle eyes stare: their dilated

fluorescent pupils stacked

like shelves; black lines like skinny

arms stretch from pole to pole, shuttling

electricity, crisscrossing woolly

smog & cotton clouds. around the corner,

purple petals surprise like new hair

color on an old friend; palm tree

silhouettes wave to you or

the sun, you are not sure. the duplicity

of the city serenades. you want

to leave, dip toes

in silt or snow or sand away

from girders like skeletons, ushering

rent hikes, welcoming money

to high-rise, high-end condos, swilling

these streets dry. but you

don't leave, swirling in circles

like a lone hawk, clinging

to verdant hills & chubby squirrels.

mesmerized, glued to neon signs,

city of angles has you hypnotized.



behind the bronze three-dimensional ‘N’

mounted on the side of the school, a sparrow

nests, ducking under & disappearing. don’t we

find homes where we can? a place, where

we feel safe from predators. we find

homes in the cracks of our egos where

we pretend we can escape

the demons flitting

under our skin. the demons come anyway,

urging us to bathe in a tub

of tequila & a pool of painkillers. the demons

-- a haze of splinters suckling

our pores. we try hard to be perfect, thinking

someone will love us if we

never make a mistake, if we ignore

the pain of branches growing

in our flesh. we try hard

to be perfect, thinking

we can love ourselves if we never

leave the crevice we call home. we're praying

for rain to exorcise the demons, provide

salvation, where our clipped wings don’t learn

how to fly from fermented agave. we find

homes where we can in the cracks

of our egos. the demons come anyway,

looking for our baby birds. we’ve tucked

them away, thinking they’re safe. we

find homes where we can, but

sometimes home

is where the predators hide, sometimes

the demons stare back from the mirror,

sometimes we must abandon the idea

of home & build a nest out in the open.


Karo Ska (she/they) is a South Asian & Eastern European non-binary femme poet, living on occupied Tongva Land (aka Los Angeles). They migrated here in 1996 from Warsaw, Poland. Anti-capitalist & anti-authoritarian, they find joy where they can. Some of their other work appears in Dryland Lit, Resurrection Magazine, the Intercultural Press, Marías at Sampaguitas, and Ayaskala Magazine. Their first chapbook, gathering grandmothers' bones was released on February 29th, 2020. For updates, follow them on instagram @karoo_skaa or check out their website karoska.com.

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