Katie Herman




The first time I saw a bone break
it was an arm. The girl kicked and screamed
to escape her body, twisting on the floor.
It was too much to have a body.

Later, when I broke my own, it was different:
I didn’t try to get away. I stayed in the body
against the swelling that sought to force me out,
picked up my fractured elbow, knee bone,

and carried my body home. Listen, all you
I love, don’t think there’s anywhere else to go.
You must stay in the body too.
Promise me this, and I’ll stay with you

down here with the prick of grass on our legs,
the sun’s heat coming back up through the earth.


KATIE HERMAN grew up in New Orleans, spent nine years in New York, and now lives in Washington, DC. She is the Assistant Poetry Editor for Sakura Review, and her poetry has appeared in the Mississippi Review. She has an MFA in poetry from the University of Maryland, College Park, where she teaches writing and literature.