a buzz of speed
& basement grease slick
the party lights, I never graduated bumper
bowling, holy Z of physics, clunky
mechanics of moving the body
any which direction, forward
time decrees, manifestation my
brother’s swollen feet, wheels
in motion sugaring me
circles circles circles
(originally published in Winamop, Winter 2020)
This is a binding between nature and mankind
unexplainable through philosophy. The trees
want to reclaim us or, perhaps, themselves.
-K. Santiago, “The Whispers in the Wild”
World Cup – athletes at their peak
when the affliction struck.
Crushed leaves in snot on tissue –
it’s nothing. I was Ubering people
around Columbus, heard the chatter.
Can trees grow in brains? Is the new
trend snorting deciduous?
I tapped the CNN app– first it was
a world-class saxophonist struck
down with a green cold.
Next, football stars from Paraguay
and Russia, all blowing chunks
of trees into white, softer trees.
The first doctor to log a patient
said it’s nothing to worry about.
After a week the test showed invasion:
prickly pines a long spine in the nose
and the headlines bleated MEAT TREES!
It was early morning in the haze
of dreaming when my nose dripped forest–
I wiped my hand across the stream,
the flecks of blossoms blooming.
(originally published in Cough Syrup Magazine, Spring 2020)
of the world
still for contact
this accident of
longing a lesson
in how not to be alone
through the lens
(originally published in Erothanatos, Spring 2020)
I heard last year Uncle Keat
lost his sight, and nobody
has seen him since.
Tonight, my oldest brother– waiting
on a kidney, unable to walk–
unwraps a flashlight.
A gift of hope, I suppose,
what we lose we tend to replace
at the end of a year–
the longer Dad’s dead the wider
entropy’s net consumes us.
Today’s the fabled white
Christmas, trail of footprints
leading into the woods.
and familiar waits in a clearing,
hands cupped to mouth.
There’s no warmth in
red streams of wrapping paper
hanged from winter branches.
Uncle Keat was there,
we’re sure. Somewhere
As if another dark
world with open jaw
awaits, and time
pushes us forward,
every now and then.
(originally published in Overheard, Winter 2022)
this is a battle
for the oldest battlefield
here it is
the absolute zero, the twentytwenty
ice age cometh.
from the vastness
of my own existence
to my own demise
graveyards of body particles
already a spacesuit
out of body
(originally published in In Parentheses, Spring 2020)
I’ve survived this far to get to fall,
and now auburn trees are nowhere.
Driving long distance– abundance
of green. Or branches, waiting for
that next temporary warmth. Used
to be we’d take a short vacation
to the northeast in October. Now
it’s a dice roll. Can’t take time off
at all for Maine. Can’t lose a single
dollar, lest dead leaves will cover
the lawn, the mouth, the moon.
(originally published in Fishbowl Press, Winter 2020)
When I first saw the broom stand
upright in the room, I thought, witchcraft.
I couldn’t sleep for days after that.
Not because it tumbled and crashed
to the floor in a roar of unforeseen
thunder, but because it was thrilling
to see the way we could play with
gravitational pull. Can my chewy
be tossed across the office with
a knuckleball axis tilt at the end?
I’ve witnessed tricks, your robot-
walk into a wall, your near-miss
backflip kick to the hanging amber
lights off the ceiling. I see everything
that happens here from my suite
on the floor, which is why, one day,
when the moon is tugging the world
the right way, I’ll sneak out my pillow
into the hall, past the conference room.
When you search for me, I will stand
on two legs in the shadows, ready
to capture your reaction on camera.
(originally published in Communicators League, Fall 2021)
After browsing the galleries we eat barbecue at Soju,
share plates twenty bucks each. We discuss the art
being hearts that keep us beating. I am realizing
my canvas might be smaller than my desire,
that there’s a limited amount of acrylic to be squeezed
from my eyes. Such is the pollen in azaleas plucked
by honeybees, fuzz on breezy days I try to catch.
Every wish is a wild one, based in basking in the sun
naked among a common herd. I like it when you hand
me your gold-ringed plate and insist I eat a chunk
of katsu chicken and Korean poutine. When you pour
a shot of cherry soju in my glass, and insist I try to lose
myself, I look everywhere for the sweet rice cake, but
it is draped in gochujang, ruby as the thin rare innards
of the sirloin bulgogi, ruby as the passing cars’ brake
lights, glancing off the concrete in the rain.
(originally published in The Headlight Review, Spring 2020)
She has a voice that could reach the stars, a friend said,
so I took a stethoscope to the atmosphere and listened
for a heartbeat to fill my ears & when it did I burst
into flame & catapulted through darkness in ever
(originally published in Goat’s Milk Magazine, Spring 2020)
Bananas everywhere make me hungry.
The doormat, the neon sign, the sticker
on your Apple– I can’t help it. My
cuteness doesn’t preclude that I am part
wolf. A ruthless hunter. When I run
across the rug to your room I want you
to throw fruit on the floor just to bite off
the peels. I’ve had my eyes on inedible Ethel
the Christmas Chicken when I learned she’s
still a chicken. For once I want a sandwich.
Put me in your cart with a potato gun
at Sam’s and we’ll hold that whole
place up. As you ransack the banana stand,
I’ll loot the deli and meet you in the middle.
(originally published in Jokes Review, Summer 2020)