To Rich (From Irie)

Bananas everywhere make me hungry.
The doormat, the neon sign, the sticker

on your Apple– I can’t help it. My
cuteness doesn’t preclude that I am part

wolf. A ruthless hunter. When I run
across the rug to your room I want you

to throw fruit on the floor just to bite off
the peels. I’ve had my eyes on inedible Ethel

the Christmas Chicken when I learned she’s
still a chicken. For once I want a sandwich.

Put me in your cart with a potato gun
at Sam’s and we’ll hold that whole

place up. As you ransack the banana stand,
I’ll loot the deli and meet you in the middle.

(originally published in Jokes Review, Summer 2020)

Warp Whistle

I thought by now the whistles would warp us
to a future in peace  jump me ahead of this dark

underground level   Mario   I have crushed
enough Koopas to keep my genocidal ancestry

whooping from their battleground graves   didn’t
feel much sanctity from Arlington Cemetery

sorry   when they buried my brother at Ohio
Western Reserve gravestones orderly as pill

bottles on the shelves of corporate pharmacy
what rings in my brain are the gunshots

of old white veterans fired during Clinton’s
final ceremony  bullets whizzing up the sky

just to land on the dirt covering
graves of my genocidal ancestry


(originally published in Impspired, Spring 2020)

White Mulch

My face pressed to the window screen– black pick-up trucks
pass. A little bit of breeze is recommended to ground yourself.

Such violence in a chicken nugget. If I think about vegetable
intelligence, I will allow myself only to eat white mulch. When

becoming grass, nothing happens to the soul. Clumps of earth
inside my fingernails when I scratch at the dirt, and still I weed

myself to the idea that beauty is ubiquitous in nature. At the sky
I choke on the concept of air. That my lungs work all living

hours, ununionized, is betrayal. My desk chains me
to the dark, and still I have the heart to look out a window?

(originally published in TRIBES, Fall 2021)

March 16, 2020

I read that gun store
sales have surged, that

they have lines around the
chopping block. So we

decide when shots
rupture our street,

we’ll drive to my mom’s–
far from any city–

instead of hiding in a
closet in our basement

of centipedes.
Should we go there now?

No, we should wait it out.
We uncork a white wine

and play twenty games
of Trouble. Hours of

moving plastic pieces in
circles. Though trapped

in a bubble, the die
dictates our every move.


(originally published in Capsule Stories, Spring 2020)

Self-Isolation (Day One, March 14, 2020)

Hands are raw from cheap soap
and scrubbing. We’re jobless now
so here’s the sink full of
better times we’re rinsing.

Let’s rearrange the living
room, drag the couch
from the side wall
to the back wall,

place the coat rack
in a different dusty corner,
treat the TV like
the god it wants to be.

There will be many
forms of worship,
this distancing.
Books. Cooking.

Writing. Pining.
Finally, I have time
to make music
and poetry but

I can’t put my phone
down– notifications
for each cog of society
as it breaks down.

You ask
should we hang
art on the walls?
I ask, what art?


(originally published in American Writers’ Review, Summer 2020)

New Year’s Party – Dining Room

Nothing to start conversation with
but the glow of television, hors d’oeuvres

the crowd devoured and I could only stand
and gape at the electric wiring strung along

the ceiling that led to the hanging light
fixture, a metallic apple dimmed. I wanted

to talk about architecture but felt wildly
inadequate due to the bricks missing

in my brain, hammers clanking where
words should, my mouth full of nails.

(originally published in Poetry Super Highway, Summer 2020)