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American River Review. Sacramento, CA Publisher: American River College. 2006.

Poetry Now. Sacramento, Ca. Publisher: Sacramento Poetry Center. 2015.

Theory (or The Five Step Argument for Evolution by Natural Selection)

Epochs are quicker than the chance of you loving me.
And yet—
your existence finds my relic self (artifacted hope)
with your Hellenic curved lips that unearth me;
unbury me with your science-sculpted mouth.

I. Variation: Individuals in a population differ in characteristics.
(Some are brown, some are blue. Sense is infinite.)

Have you seen my eyes trace the outline of your shape?
How I observe the length of your fingers
and the blueprint of your hands.
I behold the framework of your variety.
Glad of your blend—your hair (weathered on your head)
the color of fog and wood and bread.
Your Y chromosome taste—vintage sweet port,
drip to my festive vessel tongue.
O, delicious little synthesis of want.

II. Inheritance: This variation is passed from parent to offspring.
(It takes time and Sex; love and luck take care of the rest.)

You—descendant of dirt, particles of red.
Earth strata brilliance.
Thousands of years, Neolithic minutes.
Witness:  Dinosaur religion, orgasm Geography,
Glaciers of Sex, bedroom Geology—
evolution you to me.
Blow lava, flow sand and rock.

III. Competition Caused by Excess Reproduction: Organisms have the capacity to produce far more offspring than can actually survive.
(There is competition for resources just as there is for your touch.)

There is more want in the marrow of my skin
for your chance look than time has life.
I’m not as perfect as the rest—
I have only my words, my art.
The philosophy of my Willendorf breasts,
the ochre of my heart,
the crop of my legs,
the water of my touch,
the precipice of my Venus belly—my oblation.

IV. Differential Reproductive Success: Because there is variation (Step I) and competition (Step III), some variants will produce more successful offspring. 
(Have I been blessed by my own blend; inherited a chance?)

I mind map your genes with mine
like a school girl sketching botany
in the letters of your name in margins,
and note the possibilities of our touch
(replicated sugar lust, infinite combinations of
our limb percussion, hair collision)
and reproduce ourselves into trees and proteins,
as your voice embeds itself into my DNA
and wraps around my name.

V. Evolution: With differential survival (Step IV) and inheritance (Step II) there will be a change in the genetic composition of a population over time.
(You alter me, uproot, lift.)

I dare to “disturb the universe”
with my experiment, by writing this.
Let’s dance the mix of your breath with my skin.
Tangle my laugh with your careful step.
Imagine the color of eyes we might create,
the bend of limbs
careful in my round, kiln belly.
Your smile with my sense.
Your y with my x.

Theory: That which has not been disproved; a set of statements to explain fact or phenomena.

It is your very moment in time,
your perfect life,
your feet of desert,
your blood of atoms and Apollo lips,
that teaches me devotion, evolution.
I call on Science,
Poets, any Oracle or Mother God(s),
whatever will work to tell you
this simple fact,
replicated over and over in my heart—
natural selection be damned
chance or not: I love you.

© Kellie Raines (2006)

menthol medicated cream

I don't want to forget your phone call. 
How I wiped the menthol-medicated cream
from my chest that night when I was sick;
that I had bronchitis
and tried to hide my sick, cherry breath 
with cinnamon fluoride—
that I did it for you.
I don't want to forget
so I'll never have to remember
another time with you.
How I hurried on makeup
hoping my Brown/Black lashes
would make me look thinner somehow. 
As if the heights they reached
would stretch my body taller
and slimmer in your eyes that night
because I knew it mattered.
It was all very cinematic—
the blinds drawn, light slivered into the apartment. 
My peppermint tea cup,
your leftover napkins on the table 
with your life plans drawn out. 
My knees hard on the pillow—
the corner tassel and zipper handle
pressed into my skin leaving marks
not as deep as the unkind words 
(I wouldn't swallow)
from your Calvin Klein model mouth.
I don't want to think that, somehow, 
if I was prettier, more perfect that night,
the only cold would have been December
and not the cold-faucet-water that fell 
down my neck as I washed you from my face—
how it ejaculated on a still hot-cool spot on my chest
and cauterized you into the flesh of my senses
as sticky-hot strands of hair stuck to my lips
when I looked up in the mirror. 
Now, Decembers later,
I keep that jar of medicated cream,
on a white shelf, in a pink-tiled bathroom, 
so I'll never forget what you taste like.

© Kellie Raines (2006)

borders and rooms

he didn’t like her in storms and cocked behind her in the lobby,
tried to uncurve the undulated corner of a December rain-mat with his foot—

quarter—claw— grab—drop

she won a doll with resin eyes, teased her cheek to his scar
they left the water-curled carpet
of the coffee shop for doors with numbers, bibles in drawers
a man at the counter frowned at their contrast “in America…!”


Instead, they traveled different boundaries—
he inhaled her hips with his hand, she exhaled verbs
about her California with his Durango


/Room 110/

the lamp in the corner didn’t watch as he predicted blood
she threw the storied halo off his head to the ground,
practiced Spanish:


—he undressed her like truck-stop waitresses peel apart coffee filters:

thumb lick peel—pull—pile


faucet water splashed his stomach, her ankle
his dehydrated fingers poured her global breasts into a mirror

faucet drop—rip—skin—

the table barked at a nudge by the bed
                   a fitted sheet crept closer to hear him finger vowels on her back

           her nail snagged an unsewn skein of a silk mattress flower 

                                 tangled petals/breath—moored in a motel mattress jungle

they unraveled

borders into breath and thread.

© Kellie Raines

In the Pieces

What I remember most? How you fragmented
yourself to me. Your voice in digital packets,
ones and zeros, from a car park on an island
in a sea. You were windswept, interesting.
Silvery, Spanish, in a tambourine, chocolate,
plot-like way. Lorca approved sentences,
brown Danish butterflies, parcels
and the random plea. Postcards.

Bought in Rotterdam.
Written in Amsterdam.
Posted in Oporto.
Destination: San Francisco.

In between sentencing your pretty debris.
Slovakian newspapers, books.
Currency. Ice cream after sex,
the caramel kind with chocolate-shaped fish.
The way you said naughty,
and crumpet. Menorcan beaches.
Wooing adjectives and
your weakness for mayonnaise.
We disagreed.
International dialing codes
on slips of paper. Morsels.
Breasts in lips in mirrors.


You'd love Budapest.
I yelled your name in China—part of all my business trips.
More card keys and suites.
More doors? Well, entrances at least.

Fragments catalogued in a rephrased box
(I think a candle lived there once)
in a drawer in a country not your own.
An empty perfume bottle
(Japanese, noted with Parma violet).
Your tie is gone (champagne threw it out).
Postcards are left.

I'm airport waiting, card sending.
Fancy a pint at Moose's?
I miss...well... your has curls in it.
Did we settle on Vienna? I cant remember.

You ghost yourself in and out the edges
of these cards. Pressed, dulcet-worn cards. 
Budapest is my favourite (note: I keep
the u in honour of your English). Portugal
is a bookmark in a book I cant finish. Oslo
has a tear at the corner and only one x
below the signature L.
Your L. Its precipice piercing
my address, the lower loop closed
like us in Portland.

Kellie Raines

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