At night, in my dark sleeplessness, I tell promises
to the stars, to the gods, to the monsters
in my closet and under my bed, to the cicadas who know
what it means to be always looking for love.
I make promises I want to keep, but really
they’re just full-hearted half-barters,
like a kid who begs his mother for a puppy
or pleads before supper for two scoops
of ice cream, even small ones: I
I will be nice to myself. I will love myself
if you just give me someone to love me, too.
These lies I cannot keep. I
don’t have time to make this kind
of promise, the courage to wait.
I do not have the power
to shake hands with an angel or a voodoo man.
I write the promise in sand, in thought clouds
looming overhead, in the not-so-secretly hidden
journal in the bedside table.
I tell myself, the cicada-star-monster-god,
the weak angel, the wayfaring lover.
I tell only those who won’t hear.
~ Kayla McCollough
Kayla McCollough graduated from PSU in May 2020 with an MA in English. She often writes introspective poems that explore emotions and the daily struggles with anxiety. Sometimes these poems turn into songs. In her spare time, Kayla cares for plants and creates macrame and embroidery projects. When it’s warm, she’s outside soaking up the sun and enjoying birds or other creatures.
Guest Editor Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ph.D., the 2009-13Kansas Poet Laureate is the author of 24 books, including How Time Moves: New & Selected Poems; Miriam’s Well, a novel; Needle in the Bone, a non-fiction book on the Holocaust; The Sky Begins At Your Feet: A Memoir on Cancer, Community, and Coming Home to the Body. Founder of Transformative Language Arts, she leads writing workshops widely, coaches people on writing and right livelihood, and consults on creativity. YourRightLivelihood.com, Bravevoice.com, CarynMirriamGoldberg.com