Kyla Houbolt | 2 Poems
The Routes She Took
along the river
where the fish play in the shallows;
down the alley behind the bakery;
across the deadly highway, heart in mouth,
up the ladder careful
not to stand on the last rung
though she can’t quite reach
what she climbed for;
downstream in a tiny boat
through a tunnel under a mountain
calling and making echoes with her voice;
up a tree and down the slide
in the kids’ playground,
around the church, widdershins.
Getting where she needs to go
by whatever means present themselves.
When they handed out the tickets at the start
she got there late and the ticket roll was gone
but it didn’t seem to matter
in the end.
How To Succeed
What is success for a fish?
you may well ask, as in,
how does a fish know
it has climbed the ladder
of… but no no, this is wrong,
fish have no ladders, silly poet,
fish swim and breed and eat and die.
But say someone felt
sorry for the fish, someone heard
(or thought they heard)
the fish secretly cry out
from their fishy hearts, “Oh,
how can we succeed at fish life?
What does it take? We have no
ladder! Woe!” so this someone
in a fit of excessive, nay,
brine-soaked pity, built ladders
for the fish. But they would not
climb, they would not even LOOK!
So the sad pitier of unsuccessful fish
placed skeletal sculpted fish
upon the ladders to give the real fish
the idea. This pitier, this
fish-success artificer, now stands at
the shoreline each day at dawn and dusk,
calling out, “Fish, fish! Here is your ladder!
Do not miss your one chance at
success!” And still,
after all that, the fish
Kyla Houbolt’s first two chapbooks, Dawn’s Fool (Ice Floe Press) and Tuned (CCCP Chapbooks), were published in 2020. Tuned is also available as an ebook. Her work has appeared in Hobart, Had, Barren, Juke Joint, Moist, Trouvaille Review, and elsewhere. Find her work at her linktree: https://linktr.ee/luaz_poet. She is on Twitter @luaz_poet.