ghosts//gardens//graveyards – k.j. kindling

You burned it all to the ground.
In a flaming baptism of self-righteous
you let the past go.
Like you could burn off the cowardice
if you sat in the heat long enough.
Like you could sear yourself
into being someone better
if I was gone.
If I never happen.
If our memories
were just a smoke show.

You probably thought the ash would
fertilize the next garden.
Our garden became a graveyard
and years collapsed like kindling.
But there’s an ashy taste
left in your mouth
no spring flood can wash away.
No one else can feel
the soot in your teeth.
But you do.

How nice to think
you could incinerate a ghost.
We both know
of who I was.
It’s not something
you can smolder.

You promise your next girlfriend one day
you’ll get all the tattoos that have to
do with me
and you don’t tell her each time you
smell a flower
you inhale puffs of smoke.


KJ Kindling is a naturalist, a feminist, a rescue dog enthusiast, a seventh generation Coloradoan, and a naturalist. She’s currently working on three novels, two of which are verse novels, and one book of poems. You can find more of her work at or on her Instagram or Pinterest (@kj.kindling).

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