You Only Post on Instagram When in Other Countries

Swiss mountains, Chilean volcanoes, a beach in Vancouver–
currently, my hands grip a steering wheel. In the passenger

seat is a black bag. Inside, a paper bag. Inside, a salad, or
sandwich, or scone, or soup. The bread is probably hard

as stone. I scroll your travels from the safety of a stoplight.
I am far from the only wanderlust trapped in the confines

of a tipped job. I’d drive my Ford into the ocean. Sink into
the Atlantic and arrive somewhere you haven’t heard of.

 

(originally published in Lines + Stars, Spring 2019)

Time Already Told

I say I miss you– I do– at what point does it become
redundant? I slept in your bed then it was
illusion, like the night, sun shifting angles into morning

delusion. I fear this will morph, too, this distance,
and render us unrecognizable, our living
in new homes, new moths to sort

from boxes. I am trying to locate the words
that conjured the blue magic that brought us
there, the honey we shared playing Jenga

on patios, wooden towers built only to collapse
under false expectations of longevity.

 

(originally published in Kingdoms in the Wild, Spring 2019)

The Solipsists

When I tell you of my existential crisis in the shower,
of being frozen in the rain of hot water and steam,
afraid of being alive inside a universe that perhaps has

only a limited number of consciousnesses to hand out
like a bowl of Halloween candy in the dim porch light
(don’t knock, just take) – why was I born with human

privilege? I could have been a beetle hiding from
bombs in a country bleating with siren and flame.
Why this panic as I soap myself inside the pleasures

of plumbing? You tell me you don’t know if I exist,
and it’s funny a figment of your imagination would
be sowing doubt upon your own living. I tell you it’s

funny a figment of my imagination says the same, which
you say sounds like something an illusion would say.
We drink Lagunitas in a beam of window sunlight. One

of us will live forever in the simulation of our sandbox,
the black cat floating on the wobbles of my knees, purring
softly into dark sweatpants discernible from nothing else.


(originally published in Subnivean, Winter 2021)

Disney

cartoons were a kind of Bible
inside the music a gala
of fleeting buzzing bells

I’m distracted
in my present
situation

looking at the world
from the periphery of wine
glasses stashes of
amusements

laughing
gutted fabrics worn
I swore I said

I’d wait for you
I’m sorry I’m

ten years too late
for the wedding
I euthanized

lips I sipped
from goblets
the weight

on the tray
I could not
carry

 

(originally published in Peeking Cat Poetry, Spring 2019)

Airport Protest in a Crumbling America

We march through the airport in cold winds chanting
aluminum fists in the air and when we come home

the Fireball bottle is empty. The chimney is covered
in dust and Johnny has pneumonia for the second time

this year, lungs filled with water but no one else
breathes easily, just tuning into television fills a room

with coughs and silence. We had wings for a minute
but the planes have resumed their spots in the air far

away from the things that hurt. Just gazing down on
wide landscapes of gray plains and small churches

crumbling from the steeples.

 

(originally published in The Courtship of Winds, Summer 2019)

Terminated

Rip the last life-supporting limb off the tree;
no money grows here now, no more sustaining green

glinting the grass, just faces of dead men we never
knew presiding over lives with a capital C,

an initialism for one fewer line stampeding to the future
of individual prosperity. Sprint to the edge of the field;

walk the gravel road until you find another–
sharp rocks now splinter through your soles.

 

(originally published in The Fictional Cafe, Spring 2019)

Pyramids

Whatever myth you have of pyramids,
I want to hear. I can barely untie
apron strings behind my back

let alone move slabs of stone in
desert sand. I want to wake
early and run inside the bursting

triangles of sunlight but when
I start to tell you, I catch myself
already in a lie.

(originally published in Academy of the Heart and Mind, Fall 2020)

Cadey Mercury

my relationship’s been
a dull landscape with volcanoes

walking the surface of insomnia
5 A.M. in bed eyes closed orbiting

my sun her radiance
gently snoring

I often fantasize
another world

gray plains and craters
rock flings bordering

space too shapeless
to call dark

one desire millions
of miles apart

another right here
floating stone sphere

I am cold November
awake and under cover

an eternity to evaluate
my position in gravity

our love
sometimes unwieldy

and always on
the periphery

of shining

 

(originally published in Rune, Spring 2019)