The Violent Tendencies of Men

The living room floor, lava
the daughter skipped stones
over, gazing toward sunset

(originally published in children, churches, and daddies, Fall 2019)

For M.P.N.

I wish I still had time to write you letters
but I am stuck between branches with heavy

workload. I want to commit again to art, at least,
to singing songs with you on the beach under

natural harmonies of seagulls. The forest froze
under another frigid season, so I come to shore

in a long trench coat, alone, held firmly between
two worlds: the one in which I don’t have time

to do everything I want, and the other, in which
I still don’t, but keep your words dangling close.

(originally published in Academy of the Heart and Mind, Winter 2021)

In Waves

It comes in waves, the grief, though you laugh
as you say so, because we are in the Atlantic,
children again, uppercutting large tides,
and I never learned to swim, but the saying–
the metaphor– is true, the water is relentless,
and we were states away from the hospital,
where your father was, when you got the
call, and later, in our hotel’s game room,
there was a balancing act– you, your family,
the ping-pong paddles on the black table,
the plastic balls rolling slowly onto the floor
at the end of another meaningless game, the
bouncing, then physics, entropy ending–
how else to reconcile lost time? This dusting,
this airing out, now, swimsuits soaked from
the salt of the sea, this fabric, this residue
dripping off of this vacation into the old
Civic, the broken A/C, the windows’ open
breeze, silence of the road lodged between
green hills, so endless, our breathing.


(originally published in Creative Writing Ink’s Monthly Contest, November 2019 Winner)

Drinking a Rhinegeist Truth

10:33 AM on July 4th
                  & if that ain’t some
                  gunslinging fortune

     my drinks have teeth
                      can’t mix with coffee

I am trying to stay awake
                      I am trying to stay

a firework of politically conscious

most mornings the soup of ritual

I gnaw at the aluminum’s tab
                      when my beer has ended

I am not satisfied
                                 I am not satisfied

with this ending


(originally published in Datura, Fall 2019)