It was easy
for every profile pic
to be a drunk photo
smiling. Beer cans
in hands in a bar,
at the beach,
in a house, in
a car. We were
all young and
But the me
in those photos
stack of debt
I still cannot
in those moments
Like snow clouds
over Lake Erie
I hoped would
so I could drink.
(originally published in Wilderness House Literary Review, Fall 2018)
I inspect my bedroom’s walls for new specks
after changing dead bulbs in the low sky
of this house I’ve lived in for three years.
Airplanes have always sounded the same,
haven’t they? I’ve slept close to airports
and railroads my entire life, hear engines
coming on like symptoms no need to pay attention
to, low hum in your throat mourning out
of the night. By now you’ve watched friends soar
into the horizon to break the illusion
of life’s infinite line, seen the cord dangling
down from the clouds and sometimes
you reach for it
(originally published in Umbrella Factory, Fall 2018)
A cave, a raven horse-
hoofed sunlit human. Your journey
to know you forward: yourself
tar. Orange toward opening.
Darkness, fire, form,
(originally published in Indiana Voice Journal, Winter 2018)
Like we have nothing else to talk about.
Maybe we don’t. Tick-ridden, each word.
I have a fever. And cockroaches. So
we’re paranoid is what– that we’ll
probe too deep and dislike each other?
Or the opposite. It’s not a date. Right?
All we talk about– our bugs. My home
is filled with bedbugs. You just can’t
see them. Come over, we’ll take
a flashlight to the nooks of
closets. Strain our eyes on top
of chairs to search corners of
ceilings. Remove the bedding,
search around the pillows.
You’d think the topics would
be numerous and multiply.
Ah! A smile, a lull in conversation,
an open window. I open
wide. You pull a flyswatter
from your pocket.
(originally published in Thirteen Myna Birds, Summer 2018)
The way the cat looked at me
after his treat–
the difference was ours has a home.
And God I am so ashamed.
They are the same
but I was on our
a bag of sustenance
like unlimited pleasure
(originally published in The Magnolia Review, Summer 2018)
I take one pill two
to mask what’s wrong in me
these hurtful words mouthing
sorry in the dark I shouldn’t rub
your back when my partner’s
on the coast on a beach here
it snows yes I know
this is no excuse tasteless tablet
smudged slate white mountain
I am the one percent meaning
I’m money poor but lucky to
live in the age of modern medicine
a dentist takes a drill
to my root and neither of us
feel anything a surgeon cuts
into Dad’s heart anesthetics
these aches we carry daily
the privilege why we don’t
say sorry when we mean it
at the drug store I buy a knife
(originally published in The Wayward Sword, Summer 2018)
of Los Angeles.
Of the shore
or the dream
of water. Night
sky the black
film reel. Prints
in sand. Bare
feet: where to
I call it renewal
a friendship vow, any vow
though I’m just as lost
as last time, in the playground
climbing green dinosaurs
to shouts of no, don’t, you’ll hurt
yourself but we didn’t, taking
photos of the dirt by the river
from the top. Held our jugs
like the Stanley Cup to declare
our air and crawled back down
through time and space to lumber
outward through the neighborhood
to eternity which is one warm drink
we have in our hands. To accomplish
nothing is something special. I have
felt the lukewarm heat of tongue last
longer than this. I waited years for
something extraordinary to occur.
In my memory we last eternal.
In my memory we are whole, sober,
on the cusp of happiness.
(originally published in The Los Angeles Review of Los Angeles, Summer 2019)
Late in life she lived as a lagoon’s only human
among monsters she half-recognized. To visit
was a kind of drowning– submerged in nursing
home fluorescents of nursing half-breathing,
I asked Mom who am I talking to?
Her eyes asked the same.
I guess all of us,
none of us glad
we came, we had to,
wanted to, really,
despite grandma’s face
there knowing her
soon to swim the
wispy ocean of
afterlife– that, at
least, we wanted
to believe, to see her
again the way she
would want to be seen,
not now like this
(originally published in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Fall 2018)
heartcrumbs on countertop serrated
breadknife your long blonde blade
we cut knowing our expiration date
still laughed hard in mornevening
light holding rubber handle steady
slicing stacks to move on
(originally published in Literary Yard, Summer 2018)