Thirty-five years and fingernails
darken, blacken from walnuts
and the cracks of hammers, the coming
of dawn, clouds wrapped in thunder–
the fruiting spire, the pear-toned
light, the front lawn fire, charcoal
grass, green peels ripening– ripe–
red Helix stagnant, lonesome, remembering
the wet-leather thunderstorm days
the human box of organs and history
holding rubber handles
treaded like hieroglyphics–
interpret me. Listen.
These are the words on the bathroom stall
fingernail-scratched and ignored
What Will You Remember?
Not the stories told in tones softer than television
(originally published in NEAT., Issue 7)
soft purchased lumber. even though
inside I rub my hand along the surface
and feel the splinter
for a worm, for a prayer,
for modesty beyond a simple thanks.
underground is four thousand miles deep.
i walk afloat at zero
and wait for your wails
to wake me up
(originally published in Oxford Magazine, March 2015)
She is a seatless unicycle who dangles on a string attached to a wire on a telephone pole. Her pedals spin with the wind. The payphones wonder if still she can ride. They worry she will roll off into the parking lot and strike the black ramshackle Lincoln to gift another dent. Cars in motion on the street will snort and shriek. In saturnalia a brown Boerboel yelps and hurtles and snatches her tire with ferocity in his jaw. He tugs and pulls as her wheel snarls and squeaks. He drags with his fur the weight of concrete. Her rubber hairs become roots she cannot untangle from white oak trees sequestered to forests she cannot reach. The parking lot is gravelly and minuscule. Caterpillars need more space to bloom. Butterfly-eyed people who look like dead poets recite words with aluminum in their tracheas.
(originally published in Corvus Review, Winter 2015)
Thirsty Dog and Vanilla Scotchka
A victory for the men
Apple Jacks and cupcake toppings
Do you want to smoke?
I had to light the flame
so she could lean into me
I had to move her fingers
to where they needed to be.
You could stay down here
if you’d like
(originally published in Walking is Still Honest, September 2013)