Two Poems | Kate LaDew

Image: Jr Korpa

the worst place to store medicine is in a medicine cabinet

the worst place to store secrets is under the tongue
as they diffuse through the membranes, the capillaries,
bypassing the stomach, the intestines, the liver,
anything that could filter them, dull their potency,
tumbling directly into the bloodstream
filling up everywhere
the secrets that hurt, that bite, that claw,
are less painful than the one that could change everything,
could heal and mend and dissipate all the terrors we live alongside
the secret of loving those whom we do not tell


during WWII my german-born great-grandmother painted a WWI helmet red white and blue

stuffed it with dirt and flowers to match
hung it in her front window
next to the biggest american flag the neighborhood had ever seen
and dared anybody to doubt her
I think about her as I watch men and women
straighten their arms, stretch their hands flat
fingers that never held anything heavier than a cigarette
accusing people who live on the same street
of jobs stolen, livelihoods vanished
the country my great-grandmother held her heart up to,
dripping blood as red as anybody born on its soil,
is not the country I live in, is not, even, the country she lived in
all the things we caught by their tails, hate, injustice,
a constant confusing of equality with oppression,
only seem new to eyes socketed in white skin
a flag as big as the world can’t cover
a hate as deep as an ever-expanding universe
all the galaxies moving away from ours so quickly
no signal we fire, even at the speed of light,
will ever reach them
it’s just you and me, alone together,
and when we die, nobody will know but us


Kate LaDew is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in Studio Art.  She resides in Graham, NC with her cats, Charlie Chaplin and Janis Joplin.

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