Weathered, We Return to Columbus

Yes, we are still ourselves– a little faded.
The year took a toll we did not realize
until we revisited Columbus, Ohio–
where we used to live. We were surprised
to see how much everyone changed–
Paige was worn, working night shifts at
the bar after leaving the office. Jeff writes
mortgages more than music. They played
breakup songs on the fourth of July before
fireworks blazed the sky aflame, everyone
content around each other, though Melissa
is engaged to a completely different person–
not in the sense of you’ve changed, though
she has, and he has– we are all trying
to circle around the year, immutable in
its ripples. Neil was in a wheelchair.
Mindi is drinking again. So what?
This life, you have to soften the
edges. We were glad to be back,
having flown in circles around
a place we called home only to
finally land on a familiar
branch, intact after the storm
we have been through.

(originally published in Monologging, Summer 2022)

Poetry Break

I attempt to translate the goo in my brain into something both palatable and relatable
whilst contemplating my grim employment prospects. Zigzag, zigzag go the roads
in a city I never expected to inhabit. Pittsburgh’s hills are steep. I expect at a certain
acceleration at an erroneous angle my Ford Fiesta will slow-motion backflip and
scrape the top side metal against the gravel and I’ll drop to where I started. You
ever read Catch-22? I keep picturing the pointlessness of the flying. The missions,
day-to-day. Figure eights inside the clouds and never further. I can’t with supervisors.
Hierarchy, don’t tell me what to do. I will, though. Mop, drive, fetch, catch, good
little doggy
. I can barely keep my tongue in mouth. Can barely control my saliva.

(originally published in On Loan From the Cosmos, Spring 2020)

After the Polar Vortex

Sixteen degrees sounds like spring, so I go for a walk.
I haven’t left the house in days– restless heart, I needed

scenery until I step into unshoveled snow. I sigh and scrape
the spade against the sidewalk to clear the path for travelers.

A woman rolls a spare tire along the street and, seeing snow
stick to rubber, I decide my walk must end in beer. I follow

her in the direction of the store and buy a six-pack of Truth
and head back home, where my partner asks where I went–

I don’t mean to keep things from her. I just say I needed
to clear my head, and that it’s drinking season. She says

I thought sunshine was drinking season, and that’s true,
too– I can’t go outside without wanting to drink, whether

flurry or thunder. Whichever road I walk leads to wanting.

(originally published in The Literary Yard, Spring 2020)

The Increase Between Two Distances

I’d like to think there’s order
to the universe (says every

astrophysicist) so I drink
at Brillobox, then expand

out into the river region,
& into the river itself

with broken bottle
among dead husks of beetles.

I float fast, staring at the cloudless
sky of stars thinking what

a waste right now it’d be
to pray to Jesus with all this

dirty beauty in the air. You’ve
read my diary, you know my secrets,

you see where my thoughts wander
when left unattended (black

crows drowning, strawberry
lips & gin & everyone

you have ever known).
My clothes waft that cigarette

scent, but in the water I launder
myself in the cycle of time

& thus I am a pendulum,
swinging in the dark.

(originally published in LEVITATE, Spring 2022)

The Lion Takes Pride at the Salon

To have a mane
like the lion–
long, luscious,
and fertile.
I roam
the countryside
with black carpet
of hair. I
could not sleep
last night
car windows,
in the void
the grasslands
and savannahs,
summer air
a suffocation.
At least
I still look
like myself
to pass
for myself.
In Los Angeles
I was vulnerable
to indifferent
eyes, took shit
when I should
have dug
my claws
into the sand,
said I look
like myself.


(originally published in Fleas on the Dog, Spring 2020)

Adjusting to a New City (Thank You for Your Calls)

you say go
                 to the lake    I can’t

connection   (the multitudes

        slathered     in fog lotion)

                                               I have
believed in you
                                all our distant

foolishness    outside this realm
    of such irrelevant people


(originally published in Modern Literature, Spring 2020)

Columbus Crew SC

You said you’d be here hours ago,
weeks ago, months ago– last year,
we were late to the Crew game
then screamed nonsense to the crowd.
And then you told me you’d be back
and I waited, tethered to pole, while
the game ended and you were nowhere.
The bottles of mixed vodka we hid inside
the base of a lamppost was, miraculously,
still there at the end. But I changed
cities then came back to the light
shattered in the breath of a rubber band
slung outward toward infinity, the dash
of time not slowing any past collisions.

(originally published in G*Mob, Spring 2022)

Delaware Avenue

A thousand nights on the patio wine-
drunk only desire of the moon
between us. Jack’s barking was the
beating drum that kept us up all
night, and we’d just turn speakers
up to drown our axis in music.
I said I never want to be away
from you – you responded
aspens, cherry blossoms
near the end of March.


(originally published in Home Planet News Online, Fall 2020)


beer pong in daylight the yelling
sun chastises our weekday conundrum
of pennies thick-rolled in bank
accounts worth splashed gravel

I lose more than nostalgic games
and afternoons used to be the goal
was get plastered now there are
lingering lips on plastic cups

that need the wastebin
no one wants to clean up


(originally published in Hamline Lit Link, Spring 2020)

Beer Pong

beer pong is concentric
angles & behind-the-back
a miracle of physics

not that I understand
the finer maths of sport
I held an endless reservoir

of alcohol schoolnights turned
blue-lipped and blurred
pages flipped to I-don’t-know-

how-I-got-here one time
awakening on a bed of roses
at the belly of Constitution Hall

staring to the vacant moon
soaked in sticky juice a book
with its pages torn out