portion of the artwork for Katherine Fallon's poetry

Letters to Little Katie: Seven Poems
Katherine Fallon

Letter to Little Katie VI

Your body is a hologram that will flicker
differently for every person, a list

you try to make sometimes
while driving, always losing count.

For so long, you’ll have little
practice refusing: her scent good

enough, the romance of rain good
enough, the-hell-of-it good enough.

Finally you’ll learn to go dark.
Until that one—you’ll see—

comes when you say come.

Letter to Little Katie VII

You’ll be watching torture porn—girls’-school-
cum-correctional-facility complete with leather

and machine guns—when you kiss your first girl,
a stranger who’ll live down the street. She will move

like a steel rod runs through her, skull to tailbone.
You won’t ever know what condition made her so

ramrod, upright. You’ll grow up beside each other,
never say one word. You’ll never find the movie again.

Letter to Little Katie VIII

You will love women who get
into fights with men at gas pumps,

who call themselves stone
and keep their nails bitten short.

You will love the kind of human
who does not want to be touched.

Feel the roll of quarters against
your thigh. Have that be enough.

Letter to Little Katie I

You will be flattened by an electric fence
in tall grass plagued with grasshoppers.

Your wife will think for far too long
that your barbed wire scars are stretchmarks.

You will climb a mountain chasing
wayward cattle, unknowingly grab

a baby rattlesnake, photograph endless
roadkill. There will be all kinds of blood

on your hands.

Letter to Little Katie IV

Don’t be afraid of heights
or basements, it’s hype. Fear

instead thresholds, stairwells,
the wide ribs of women,

being told you remind anyone
of their parents.

Letter to Little Katie V

Have no shame in loving
the god damned idiot box,

let it bathe you in green light
at night. These, your childhood

challenges, childhood friends,
guide the eerie way to roads

straight to water.

Letter to Little Katie IX

Watch—really watch—as the snake
unhinges his jaw to take in the wren.

Katherine Fallon’s Comments

In 2009, I went to a Philadelphia hypnotist to try to quit smoking. I’d done it before with some success, but then a breakup happened and I was back at square one. The first therapist had me visualizing landscapes and left me wanting smoothies. This second therapist had me walking into an unknown forest and imagining what I might say to my younger self. Anything at all, to make her less likely to smoke. I sobbed my way through the session and chain smoked a pack as soon as I was out.

That question—what would you tell Little Katie—broke me in some new way. I have thought about it for years and then decided to try my hand at answering it poetically. They run from advice poems to warning poems to “for-what-it’s-worth” poems. They are love poems and queer poems and nature poems, but they are not poems about smoking. It turns out I have plenty to say to my childhood self, knowing full well even if someone had said these things to her, she wouldn’t have listened anyway.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 57 | Spring/Summer 2021