around here. Every
three months then
you forget about it.
I’ve been off and on in love
with my roommate since the
day she moved in. November
rain, the red-bricked road,
I look out my window–
no cars on the side
of the street I parked on.
I scramble from my room,
her boyfriend in the hallway,
and I yell street cleaning!
His eyes bug up
and we race down
stairs to beat the tow
trucks but I open the door
to see cars parked around mine.
I tell him I’m going anyway
to check the signs–
which I do in my blue
flip-flops, waddling out into
wet grass to find
next week’s the sweeping–
and don’t we always
wait yet another week
to cleanse ourselves of what
we fear we don’t need?
A bad job
or incompatible lover.
For months they have fought
about necessary changes
neither of them will make,
and just last week
she told me
the cycle of her life
goes in years by threes.
The job, the lover,
the house, the dust.
There’s a chill. I’m not wearing
a jacket, so I go back inside
and tell him it’s next week–
but he’s known this for weeks.
(originally published in Columbia Journal Online, Winter 2018)
Fill the cracks so the ants can’t infest.
This is the poison applied for feeding:
urine-yellow icky glue sealing lips
to take home to another body. Sometimes
words stick where I open my mouth–
the crevice between us not letting you in.
I, too, have brought small gifts back
underground thinking them an olive
branch. Each attempt kills one way
or another. Malignant misinterpretations.
I return with this pellet of words.
This killing I never meant to witness.
(originally published in Abstract Magazine, Fall 2017)
through apples (nothing).
half a meal, half a pine,
half of what we hoped for,
the way a core reveals itself inedible,
though we knew.
from day one, bites
sometimes the juice sweetness
overpowers slow rot.
it was early on, and worms
had yet to emerge from their holes
in the ground to greet us.
all we had to do
was wait for rain.
(originally published in First Literary Review – East, Winter 2018)
A shadow figure outside the Ford’s locked door.
He jiggles the handle
hey can you drive me to Santa Clarita
I said no I have been drinking whiskey
which was a lie
he said let me in
I did not
When I wake for a walk in the middle of the night,
clothes bunched on red benches under streetlights
like someone had been there
I call my ex
I can’t stop thinking about you
shadows float from her eyes
understand: we lived
in the cave of each other
under orange streetlights
blankets hang from headrests
to drape me from the world
(originally published in The Nottingham Review, Fall 2017)
I watched us turn into centipedes,
not butterflies– tiny legs to run
pushed out of us, not wings.
In half-moon light we crawled
the hollow ridges of our bodies.
Someday, we thought. Children.
But it was true: neither of us knew
how to bloom. We kept scratching
at the other’s skin digging
for the beating heart
but only exposed the blood.
(originally published in The Quiet Letter, Summer 2017)
Do not forget me:
I have struggled to break
through my own absence
of field. Let a helium balloon
float to where it disappears.
We have not spoken
in years. The phone you gave
me I replaced to return
my sense of self-place. Still,
send me a signal you sense me,
and we will come to static
where we cannot hear
how we wish to be heard
but we will know
we are there.
(originally published in CultureCult Magazine, 2017)
I’ve written the last
I can about you.
No more spirits in this blue-and-gray
jacket with the familiar coffee stain.
Out of poetry and time to spare.
Like December’s brisk spit of snow.
The lack of wonderment.
(originally published in Corvus Review, Fall 2016)
We collected enough spacedust
to build a story, and so began
ours. I sought ways to learn
you: almanacs, online astronomy
classes, science fiction novels.
You were a constellation
to call my own. Time wore
on, and light from an ex-lover
reached you. Your position
in the sky changed. You
moved no closer. I bought
a telescope you admired
for awhile. Said you liked
the way I looked at you. Here
I thought I was the only one
you gleamed for. I asked
for your coordinates. You said
no matter where you went,
you would always be brighter
by the other star.
(originally published in Halfway Down the Stairs, Summer 2017)
After the breakup, our phone conversations
become space debris, steel pieces hardly
discernible hurtling haphazardly at five miles
per second. Where do the scraps go?
The gold taste of summer will impact the brain
and puncture, enflame. We wish to assist
the start-ups who seek to construct
machines to eliminate wayward spares
of satellites trapped in the gravity of a body,
propel its dust into the atmosphere to burn.
We drift wary of small artifacts
from failed missions to emerge
in the distance of night to strike
and make split into fragments
we will never assemble again.
(originally published in Allegro Poetry Magazine, Spring 2017)
I cracked my phone screen
on my first date without you.
I carried it in my back pocket, like always,
though maybe I postured myself differently,
finally sitting up straight enough
to carry my own weight.
I didn’t look at my phone
until after the date. By then,
I could no longer remember you
without the shattered glass–
the flawless screen was not made
from our blazing beach days
of black seaweed and slithering kites
that begged the wind to let go,
where footsteps parted sand
to lead the tide into ourselves,
to let the moon drag our bodies
into the ocean’s boundless mirrors
where, enveloped in reflections,
we could only gasp for air.
(originally published in Metonym, Fall 2017)