Kate Northrop

Train to Naples and “It’s Awful Plain”
March 19, 2024 Northrop Kate

Train to Naples


Five ceramic half-ducks flew up the wall.
Why did anyone say anything in the lobby?  A table,


flowers stuck on it, stood in the room’s center.
Like it had landed there, we agreed.


Now the airport floats by, now his armpit farts.
Now goes a bat tattoo.  It’s like


a cartoon: a spotted dog is digging, digging
and sand flies behind the crook of his legs


into the next frame where we keep
walking around.  Look, lit from within, a building


hums there.  Look, the day
is a rockface after rain.  Where are you going?!  careens


through the car, the conductor, his blue eye
and we’re riding along, at the bottom of it.



“It’s Awful Plain”


With its tail in the leaves, my father’s death
is up out of the water.
A red glow in the headlights swaying.
I hold the phone to my ear.
Those fuckers had him going!
How my father liked his stories,
it was a question always of sides.
I hold the phone to my ear.
I never liked his stories,
out of the water, swaying
in the headlights, the leaves


and how the fuckers kept glowing
on and on inside my father.  The phone
keeps going, it’s a question.  The phone
on my side, the side
my father leaves out, side
of headlights and stories
and water swaying.



Kate Northrop’s recent poetry collections are “Homewrecker” (New Letters vol 88, 2022) and “cuntstruck” (C & R Press, 2017).  Northrop is the recipient of the Jeanette Haein Ballard Writers Award and fellowships from Yaddo and MacDowell.  She lives in Laramie, Wyoming.