Karo Ska

back to the past

in 2019, in july, disney releases the lion
king in cgi, starring beyonce.

the original hand-drawn big-screen
cartoon came out in november 1994.

the weekend i went
to a dinner party
with my mother.

our first & only.

i brought a centerpiece:
a turkey i drew, its feathers
my four fingers, its head
my thumb. after dinner,
the kids & adults planned
to go to the movies,
but my mom complained:
i'm tired, i'm tired, i'm tired

& took me home.

it would've been
my very first movie
in technicolor & dolby sound.

in 2019, i'm trying to re-live my child-
hood, trying to go back
in time but mufasah still dies
again, again, again.

simba paws the tender slope
of his father's snout, trying
desperately to wake him
but it was instant --
this snap from mortality.

in 2019, a tear sneaks out
through a cracked window
of my eye, my cheek
guides it toward my ear
out of sight.

four seats down someone
wipes away childhood sorrow
while i
keep rubbing mine,
grieving for a child-
hood i never had.


i don't have any dietary restrictions


like my sexuality, my diet knows
no boundaries, changing
daily, weekly, monthly, yearly.

some days, i gnaw on chicken breast.
other days, my tongue wraps
itself around asparagus or celery.

today i order un taco de papa.
tomorrow, i'll have your lengua, flesh
melting in my mouth. why settle

for sliced wonder bread when i
could have focaccia or brioche
or a still warm bolillo from the panaderia

down the street. i like you steaming
in my fingers, i want to unfold you,
savor your softness, your buttered dough.

desires like apple varieties from gala
to red delicious or pink lady. some days
i'm vegetarian, other days,

especially when the moon is full,
i devour carne asada burritos,
licking fatty oil from my fingers.

i climb trees naked, i trace
my tongue on red spotted mangoes,
undecided but joyful

because we both
so sweet.


Karo Ska (she/they) is a South Asian & Eastern European non-binary femme poet, living on occupied Tongva Land (aka Los Angeles) with their black cat muse. Anti-capitalist & anti-authoritarian, they find joy where they can. Their first chapbook, "gathering grandmothers' bones" was released on February 29th, 2020. For updates, follow them on instagram @karoo_skaa or check out their website karoska.com.