Blue Beetle

shining
in the sunlight
of our driveway

I go inside
to tell Dad

come see
what
I
found

no hesitation:
he squishes
its golden
guts out

a thing like
that

he says

is nothing
more
than a nuisance

but I keep
thinking
about that beetle

impossibly one
of a kind

and today
I watched
a boring

black
beetle

scurrying
across
the pavement
of Goodale Park

and disappear
into grass

and I thought

the ground
is teeming
with beetles

if I just dig
a hole
deep enough

I might
be able
to apologize

 

(originally published in Pouch, Fall 2018)

Crickets

On the back patio, a cricket chirps beneath
the dirt of graying leaves– September’s chill.
Most days, dust becomes the clouds, this habit
of years knowing you, gone. The blue crickets
strum the cold death of summer– violins. I walk
the perimeter of fence to hear your heartbeat,
shrill– a shiver in the search for permanence.
Childhood: the crickets cry. A car door slams.
Footsteps twist through the crackle of leaves.
The old house hides the light, dips me in
worry: when crickets stop, ashes become
wind– the hymn. The lament of sparrows,
the creak of a gate, the thrum of a plane.
The unbearable passing of another year.

 

(originally published in Furtive Dalliance, Winter 2018)

Caterpillars

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)

Cicadas

The cicadas come at night, after you
fall soundly in the trance of your booklight,
buzzing pages. Forget, there’s no undo.
The cicadas come at night,

arriving several years apart despite
love’s hindwings clung to bark whose heart is true.
We burrow in those pages craving sight

and air and words– we gather in droves to
kiss your hand though you think it is a bite.
We wait years and always return to you.
The cicadas come at night.

 

(originally published in The Road Not Taken, Summer 2016)

How to Hit on Ladies

suck in the vacuous space
separating the lines of the
ceiling and the hard cross
of vagary carpet mites –

wave the dueling paintbrushes
until the rims break but ever
so coquettishly whisk
the centipede eyelashes –

twist the crescent mouth to hark
the worthy obeisance of
patriot songs in a way that
conducts mosquito perseverance –

patch the augered suitcase leaking
carrot water but do it so
the bullish cockroach shells
remain intact and walking –

reassure her that the future
is a flowing faucet unhinged
like the music of the Grecian
harmonica in gathered cicadas –

 

(originally published in Euphemism – Vol. 11, Issue 1)

Blue Digger Bee

do blue digger bees buzz like honey bees do
or like jazz from tinny speakers
the city night starves for jazz
just a little touch finger on palm
yes I am over your plaid cheeks
like physically my eyes are exhausted
the out-of-order escalator will move no further
yes we waded in pastel watercolors
soft peal of wetting paint
temperance of modern rain
kestrels singing in forever air
tints of cerulean debasing the feather coat
deftness of a painter’s hands
what loneliness in the canvas will glimmer in a gallery of twenty-first century still life
that is real
the mixture of white and black paint stain so entwined in the fingers gripped by brush
the challenge of how do you make this Vietnamese-man-sitting-alone-at-a-table as compelling
as a bucket of salt dipping from the sky
I think of a plodding pizzicato on a yellow glass harp
children in red shoes lining up for a king-sized carousel
our teeth are the strings on the replacement years from now
somehow the present is pregnant with the future
somehow my mouth is fanged to nearly ask
fingers hold music that has not been heard
arpeggio flower petals drifting in the wind
umbrage in the gutters
fingernails recycle them into leaves
the digger emerges from sand
and creeps back into its widowed sepulcher

(originally published in Prong & Posy, Issue 2)