Kyla Houbolt | 2 Poems

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

which leaks;

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

ignore him.

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: She is on Twitter @luaz_poet.

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