Kristina Labaty

Three Poems – Kristina Labaty

The Breaking Point

Ice cracks in shards,
mingles with water –
this once pristine surface
now broken, released from tension.
The moon sits enshrined by a halo –
Infusing the landscape:
so the season is quietly
dismembered – ice pulled apart –
like a broken mirror –

someone walks on thin ice,
someone jumps into this
mixed substance.

Tension between the lure of water
and the menace of ice mirrors
my longing and fear of breaking


Through the Window

– For Maria de los Angeles

A black bird hovers above the car.
Its wings twitch in the switching wind.
The windshield frames a new vista:
as the forest empties, the sky widens.
The air is charged with mottled glory;
cloud and sun contest overhead.
The wind is symphonic, threatening in its power.

This changeling season – the Ides of November –
Daimonic struggle of light and dark.
The sky is a window flung open:
A spirit gust floods the landscape,
yet here I sit, separate
from sky and sun, in the driver’s seat.

All Saint’s Day draws near – the end of October.
My daughter pulls down a book: The Lives of the Saints for Girls.
Like gems in a diadem, her eyes assume a strange brilliance
on hearing feat after feat: burning at the stake,
living for the poor, bearing the infant Jesus.

I want to add you to this catalogue of absolutes,
of women who did what they must:
mother of three saved a house full
from fire. Realizing she had left one child behind,
she returned and perished.

Out the window, the maple is red
as fire, seeming to carry a moral imperative:
I imagine you rising from the flames like a phoenix,
both you, Maria, St. Maria,
and your child rise through a baptism by fire.

The window is wide
open now – an image of mother and child
hovers in the sky, veiled by the cosmos like Raphael’s Madonna.


The Bathers

The door to the loose-housing
was shut when we arrived,
my boy and I. The barn was dark and empty –
such profound stillness
stirred a shall we turn back sentiment
as I gently fiddled with the unfamiliar door.

It fell ajar just before
I firmly decided
we should go.

Not wishing to wait, my son rushed out.
I knew I must follow.
An early afternoon light fell
on the shadowy scene.
It was a warmer than likely January Day.
A small cluster of heifers
reposed on a bed of hay.
One stood – she was nearest us –
her clear bovine eyes absorbed me.
She was so young and wakeful.
I let my eyes explore her full length.
She must have been grooming:
her fur ran in uncertain tufts, some slicked back,
some on end.
It was mostly white with flecks of brown.
On her forehead, the horns barely protruded –
these little nubs, reminiscent of early breasts.

Quiet the while, my son stood watching
as she resumed her session
of afternoon self-cleansing.

There was another a little way off
curled upon herself, head tucked
in towards her tummy, her graceful neck
taking the light.

An unspoken apology issued
From my gaze.

I turned my son around
as we left them to their toilet,
closing the door behind us.


Writing is a fascinating process, as it allows one to discover unforeseen aspects of the world and oneself. For this reason, Kristina Labaty has been practicing off and on as long as she can recall. Outward recognition has of late seemed necessary. For the past twenty years or so, Kristina has benefitted from the rural treasures of the Hudson Valley. She enjoys walking, cutting flowers, helping others as part of the larger context of Camphill Communities, and spending time with friends and family.