Katherine J. Zumpano
writer 🖌️ reader 📖 pnw 🌲
wwu alum 🎓
pisces sun ♓️ taurus moon ♉️
pieces in southchild lit, jeopardy mag & more
social media: @kjzwrites
our other lives
1 I never cared for the color of my own eyes before I saw his. coffee-with-cream brown. they drip honey in the sun. I swear they hold secret constellations I have yet to unlock. is this why they call it the honeymoon stage? I remember the first time I met his mother, how she asked for my sun sign and stared into me, read my intentions. she declared us soulmates; I laughed, but wanted it to be true.
The Poem That Made Me a Poet
It started as an assignment. I was in my second year at Western Washington University, and was lucky enough to snag the last seat in Jane Wong’s class on food writing. The course focused on our connection to food. How it inspires us, challenges us, fills us with nutrients and love.
- Top Story - August 2023
elegies for a small townTop Story - August 2023
1 call me dramatic / I think I’ll die if I stay here / by which I mean, I’ve burnt every bridge with a sharp tongue / by which I mean, I stopped tolerating small people / by which I mean, my therapist says that boundaries are uncomfortable for everyone but necessary for all / by which I mean, I am not crazy / by which I mean, my home is my sanctuary / by which I mean, get the fuck out / by which I mean, your breath stinks of cheap booze / by which I mean, it’s pathetic to get drunk at 2pm / by which I mean, it’s pathetic to get drunk every day / by which I mean, I stop drinking so I will never become them
you write a poem for your teenage self
but you don’t know where to start, because you’re still figuring it out. you want to give her all the answers. you don’t have them. you want to reassure her that she’ll be happy. that her life will be full. that she will write and travel. that she will be kind and generous and capable. you want to tell her that her father will read every poem she will ever write, that he’ll be proud. you want to tell her that her mother will teach her to bake, will give her rolling pins and pie dishes and silicone mats until she runs out of room. you want to tell her that her brother will be the smartest person she ever meets. that her sister will be kind, will make her laugh more than anyone else. you want to tell her that she will be in love with someone who loves her, too. who rubs her back and always kisses her goodnight and thinks she is beautiful. you want to tell her that she will feel beautiful. that she will be glad she is here. existing.
Crickets in the Field
The casket was closed. It was the one thing Freddie cared about, and the only input he gave when they discussed the funeral. He let Lisa and Jeremy sort out the rest. He didn’t care if she was cremated or buried, what kind of wood they chose for the coffin, or where they held the service. All he requested was that the casket stayed closed.
Fish Out of Water
Carmel, California. 2006. The first time I remember seeing the ocean. The first memory not on faded photographs, but in my mind. I wear a yellow sundress, brand new and already stained with ketchup. The water is clear, cool, and blue. The sand is hot under my bare feet; it clings to my toes. The sun is blinding. I squint at Grandpa Jim as he takes my picture, pose for the disposable camera. I stand in the ocean, hands about my head, thrilled to be standing in the Pacific Ocean – the real one, like you see on maps. I am ten years old and wish I could stay here. I don’t want to return to Ontario, to somewhere so far from this beach. Or any beach.
How Moving to the PNW Made Me Take Ocean Conservation Seriously
I’ve always loved water. Born in Minnesota, I remember exploring Minnehaha Falls as a child, and I enjoyed visiting my grandparents in California because we would spend time in Monterey. I’ve always felt connected to the water, and everything in it.
The Beginner's Guide to Free Speech
If you’ve been following the news lately, you probably already know that Donald Trump has been permanently suspended from Twitter. On January 8, 2021, the social media company posted the following statement to their blog: