A.M.

First thought every morning was you: we were to graduate,
set young wings to flame, then fly– but we moved back to our
childhood homes where, instead, wildfires raged through long
landlines, burning our ears in hours of silence miles apart. We tried
to make us work, but the jobs we hated we did not know how to leave.
Me, at the studio, taking photos of lovers; you, at the call center,
straining voice to strangers. How we slept through the same sunrise
in separate beds, rarely awake for the burst of morning. We tried to make
us work. We drank pots of coffee miles apart to stay awake through
the night to watch the darkness die through our windows, wary
of light, the life we had to leave behind.

 

(originally published in VAYAVYA, Fall 2019)

Take the City, Too

you say a package was
stolen from your porch

I am just trying to stay out
of the rain

vent blowing frigid air
through this new home

& you tell me Robert witnessed
the van speeding beyond the jangled suburbs

as if thievery need be
so complicated

stealing happens
on the sidewalk

these blankets of concrete cracked
beneath high-rises

a UPS truck sputters past a pothole
right turn signal blinking, blinking

(originally published in BOMBFIRE, Spring 2021)

Can’t Strategize Depression

Chunks of chess in my brain / surgery for / inclement weather.
Sacrificing pawns for the greener good. The greener god.
I am laughing at the things you say / though they’re not funny.

Nor trying to be. But I want to be liked / and to like / and to
continue the niceties on this island. To sever the sadness / I
said I never / wanted again. But words differ from / what

happens / when you swim the sea / no shore in sight.

(originally published in COG Magazine, Spring 2019)

Medicated Anticipation

you said wait a few years
you’d move to California
by then already gone

an ill-timed applause
two hands in magnetic
motion missing

like sipping fluid through
an allergic throat closing
such lean times

the tangerine sun
sleeps til noon

didn’t your dad write
a book on the art of joy?
because it is an art

a painting with overused
blues these uppers I knew
gleaming in the froth

of your mouth

 

(originally published in Scarlet Leaf Review, Fall 2019)

Elsewhere

in darkness we wade
into this shimmering orb
a crystallized common

ground beneath the palm trees
in this desert spanning the time
since I saw you last I lived in my car

when you went on vacation
and handed me the key to your home
for the week wood panels covering

your windows blocking light
I remember thinking I’ve lost
my sense of place like

sleeping through a daydream
staring at the ceiling
from your pond-sized bed

I could not wait
to leave the key
in the top drawer

of your dresser and
never see you again
because I didn’t

want to tell you
your home was more
like a prison at least when living

in a car there’s the
illusion of motion
with nowhere else to go

I find myself with you
now in this outdoor pool
swimming on its own

 

(originally published in Ariel Chart, Summer 2019)