When you say exclusive do you mean we are alive alongside the only other life in the universe or

do you mean something else
because right now I am committed
to the rare magic of water its myriad

forms        fresh   salt    rain    ice
but don’t you go change too
much on me I feel so small

in the emptiness following days
without you   being in the pull
of your invisible gravity what

a dance to be so meaningless
years away from all other heat and
made of fragile things   carbon  dust

yet when I fart and sneeze through
the night I still have my body
and you intact in morning light


(originally published in former People, Winter 2020)

Phases of Education


Brain predates flame. Fish’ll
wiggle the net. Swan
in the parking lot– precocious
ego! Always young, forever
pond. The foundation
of every shallow,
labored breathing.


Milkbox, crate,
glass vociferation,
chalk fingernails
the canister and broken.


I understand nothing
but gold and calligraphy
across a diploma. Pretentious–
lift the veil of spider-dress,
eat fish eggs until night
sickness, then Spam
in kitchen cabinets–


Review of the world:
a loquacious life of limestone.

(originally published in White Wall Review, Winter 2021)

March 15, 2020

You say today’s a great day
to walk the cemetery.

So we go. And there are
infectious monsters on our

street, monsters crossing
the intersection, monsters

carrying garbage bags,
monsters driving cars

with windows closed,
staring at us, fellow

monsters. And when
we cross the gate

there’s no one
alive around.

Just hills and hills
of headstones–

all of the dead
a responsible

six feet under.


(originally published in Capsule Stories, Spring 2020)

You Are Going to Kill My Mother

I guess a pandemic’s a time
to get wasted. I want to, too.
Badly. But crowds are universes
of a billion universes,
complex ecosystems in each
of us too small to see.
Most years I squeeze
into the tightest space
to buy the cheapest beer.
But Mom sells colognes
to the relentless public
at the mall, still pointlessly

One of you knows someone
who knows someone
who wants to go out and
smell like sandalwood tonight.
And in the trillions of
tiny transactions we
do not know
happen each time
we step outside,
the actual virus
will make its way
into my mother’s
lungs. When
she– in her mid-
sixties– has to go
to the hospital,
but there’s no
to treat her,
I’m going to
remember what I saw:
you in a crowd at a bar
on your Instagram
stories. And I am
going to blame you.


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

My Employment History as Jenga Game

                         I see the opening
                                  can’t breathe
                                                 when placing down
                                        the block–
                                                                    one wrong move
                                     and I’m living in my car again.
                            Cheaper rent. The simpler things–
                                       brick house,
                                                   blue tuxedo–
                                             were romantic once
                            but my mouth is full of blood, teeth
                                    my stomach yellow-splotched
                                                             (but not from sun).
                                 The rocks in my shoes,
                                                         holes in my
                                                   ripped nets my lovers fall
                                                       (rely on me?
                                                                           They know
                                                           I grind my teeth in sleep).
                                 How summery it was to think I could
                                        make the next job work, mountains
                                                                  of manila folders
                               perpetually stacking, tumbling–
                                                  the dim light’s exit blocked
                                                              from collapse.

(originally published in Stickman Review, Fall 2020)


Turn away from bleeding nights
of hedonism, for nothing good

is heavenward, nothing virtuous
earthbound in the hours when

locals have vanished from taverns.
Nothing fills the soul more

than a bottomless glass of brew.
Nothing fills the soul anymore.

Cigarette fog creeps through
frigid city nights– how to swell

your lungs with want. Would-
be ghosts of unborn whispers,

these streets are teeming– how
ever empty they may seem.


(originally published in Erothanatos, Spring 2020)

Memory Outshines the Moment

Childhood’s supposed to be a little blurry,
but phones are testing the shores of Moore’s law.
Kid, you’re gonna know every gory detail growing up:

the green facepaint. The goalposts at night. The peach wall
(since painted cerulean) the pool cue leaned against. You will
still smell the fragrance of fall in retail. The beehive lights

spattered against the backdrop of capitalism. Somehow you
still found a way to toss boomerang smiles, to pose
at Macy’s amongst the mannequins, limbless and featureless.

(originally published in Erothanatos, Summer 2021)


eye contact
with a dead deer
on the side of the highway

his eyes were open
facing oncoming traffic
neither happy nor sad

just dead
face intact
a mangled cute

because I don’t find deer
particularly cute
nor useful when alive

(here I am
another man
valuing appearance

as commodity)
but I don’t want
to kill them

I am on my way
to see my underpaid
overworked partner

on memorial day
passing cop
after waiting

and I swear
there are

more carcasses
than usual
in the tall grass


(originally published in In Parentheses, Spring 2020)

The Local News

brown smoke rises from the doghair upstairs
extra income for the lungs

gelatin bodies at the altar of flickering prophecies
routine’s new name is televised corruption

ceiling fan cyclicality a depressed indoor breath
dangling blades to aid the weary

a sludge to binge our eternity presently
to become monuments of flesh absorbing rigidity

(originally published in Fishbowl Press, Winter 2020)