Kathleen Madrid


Dear J—,

Today I saw the painting Sisters, by Olga Suvarova.

The flowers, the gowns, the jester and the flute. None of it will do of course. None of it does. None of this lush beauty can touch the wonder of even the ugliest day of having a sister. There is no paint for aquamarine rage, lavender terror, exhaustion’s trailing periwinkle—nor the bright black heft of carrion crows hanging over this starved-thin elevation in our hearts, this desert. Let nightingales sing elsewhere amid magnolia and oranges. Our opulent poverty is most of what I know of love. Grey sage and serrated shadows. The snaking arms of track marks between oasis and mirage. There is no other place we’re from. Drunk as we’ve been, and parched on poison water. We are the what and where of home.

We are elsewhere now, though unexpectedly here. Nervous in our costumes and wary of the royalty around us.


KATHLEEN MADRID has had her work published in Rue Scribe (of Underwood Press) and Cathexis Northwest Press. She lives outside Denver with her husband, three Newfies and a sawed-off mutt named Whiskey.