Pray to clogged brick, hardened
breathing. When I was young,
I believed in God and my mother
had good food waiting after school.
Rice and chicken, spinach
and pepper at the bottom of a soup.
Boiling then, now I drink water
in mason jars to wash away cheddar-
topped hot dogs I ate in some
destruction of the work Mom
put into me to get me here–
how she unclasped her hands
when I left for LA, let me fly
down the highway of fickle dreaming.
There was light at the end of that;
there’s a light at the end, still.
Now the intangible light swarms
my world, and I am too selfish
in my gluttony to eat it–
how a body can be full of light
but radiate a shadow of another,
one you had no part of in the making.
(originally published in Hessler Street Fair Poetry Anthology, Summer 2018)
Florida’s coast the horizon gunmetal
and the gales drive me into a house
where I ramble in garbled non sequiturs
about God highways marijuana to a cop
whose intent is to arrest me but he says
he does not have the authority yet
I say you’ll get there then after
the wreckage the cop works as a clerk
in the city’s only shelter I ask
if there’s room and he says not yet
(originally published in Hollow Tongue, Spring 2018)
and float she
may one day love
& gilded wing
(originally published in Whistling Shade, Autumn 2018)
The legend, according to my sister, goes
you lock yourself in the bathroom, turn off
the lights, say Bloody Mary, spin three times,
then voila! She appears, bloodied,
hands on her face screaming
à la Edvard Munch painting.
I obviously don’t believe in this but
do you have the courage to try?
Catholic school vacuumed religion right
out of me, but I blanket my head in bed
when I can’t explain a house’s creaking.
Believe me– if I believed
that I believed, this wouldn’t be
so scary. I’d ask God to help me.
Say I try this now.
Would a vision make me a believer?
Me, an adult in a bathroom,
chanting a name into the dark.
When my eyes finally opened,
I’d pray to anything– the bathtub,
the toilet, the sink, the sliver of
light beneath the door.
(originally published in We Are a Website, Spring 2018)
The whole year has been hurricane season
in this nation of bayous haunted by ghosts
of cowboys shooting bullets into the clouds,
gunsmoke in the air, then a disaster of rain.
Save us, God, from these dark clouds looming–
there are too many more bodies to save.
(originally published in The Los Angeles Review of Los Angeles, Summer 2019)
I haven’t seen you for years–
not since long drives
of oaks to school in
both of us unsure where
we were going after graduation
and now you have a kid
I may never meet though I want
to see you on sunshine coast red
hair blowing where it may go
(originally published in Visceral Uterus, Spring 2018)
backward signs gray silver
curved necks of lights and opened arms
reaching reaching reaching
not high enough
not low enough to grab
American Cab out of business
cops on horseback
off to Wendy’s Arby’s Tee Jaye’s
all this green and exit
you must enter somewhere
(originally published in Central American Literary Review, Spring 2018)
I believe in you
with your hand
in my hand,
who I am,
who I have been–
every sin absolved,
in silent prayer
to our prayers.
With your hand
in my hand
is my land,
in the morning.
(originally published in SOFT CARTEL, 2018)
the cat purrs, content
on his own, clawing my blanket
that rests peacefully and soft.
meanwhile, I entertain fantasies
about quitting my job again–
every day, the drab walls
say nothing to me.
the squeaky chair says
too much. another paycheck
arrives, not enough to sustain
me past the day’s bills. I work
for the grim reaper, ghastly
and gray, worm-smile rotting.
there is a scythe to my head
when I sleep that I set the night
before but I can’t even sleep
long enough to meet it.
the cockroaches share my bed,
and I know they will make it
out of this alive, whether
nuclear war or work.
(originally published in EgoPHobia, Winter 2018)