My olfactory nerve already overflooded with Acqua di Gio
on business cards beneath fluorescents, I did not expect
to run into my first love in the wilderness of Black Friday,
where hard rain was people. I sought a higher ground– escalator
to the bathroom to text my crush on my TracFone, until the arms
on my watch contorted a certain way. But my tarot cards flipped
when I recognized Kristen from afar, both of us unsure,
unlike in fifth grade, on the bus to Mohican, she slept
beside me, her hair fire on my shoulder, strobe lights of a confused
adolescence that entire week. Camp ended when everyone
contracted poison ivy. How to scratch the mind until snapping
back into self– in that present, years later, I thought she might be
fate and, thus, planned a coffee date, but because I did not
carve the path I wanted to take, winter came. And went.
(originally published in Tipton Poetry Journal, Winter 2021)
I switched to Apple
after such staticky reception
meaning I’m anxious
for the bite– the teeth-
piercing, tedious call,
tiny wires inside me
moaning your song–
which is to say I never
was an android in search
of blue requiems and
we’ll say I love you
and it’ll still sing.
(originally published in The Los Angeles Review of Los Angeles, Summer 2019)
The trees are dead, she said.
Peering outside, it was true:
A still-barren sixty degrees, sun
meekly reveling in its new warm.
A week ago, our mother cut down the tree
we picked apples from as children.
They were small, red, never delicious–
brown and burrowed with worms
because anything sweet from the skin
isn’t as sweet as you might think.
All those colorful lights we tied around
the necks of plastic and decoration,
the way we choked the holiday,
wrung out the last ounces of life
from the animal ornaments on every pine.
The walrus with the broken tusk.
The hyena whose laugh can nearly
be heard. As if anthropomorphizing could
ever atone for the past but I would love
to believe in a world where a fragment of
a tusk means something is truly missing–
perhaps rickety laughter ringing through
thin walls, dominant as the wooden organ
moans his mantra: everything in this world
is connected. Not every connected thing
is aware of its living, its connection.
But the way fingers dance deep
resonance out of the organ’s shifty teeth
to provide holiness for the changed house
is the gift we must open for ourselves
with our hands full of music– a sourness
in harmony, an ode to shriveled apples.
(originally published in Flatbush Review, Winter 2016)
Blackbirds suspended in triumvirate.
Clouds in a sea of burnt clay
mold into a blanket, the bed
unmade. Every beautiful sunset,
see the others on their phones
snap photos for strangers,
likers, digital lovers.
Lowball grandeur on a
It’s gone in a moment, anyway,
the pixelation of life,
Palm trees stand as windmills,
stilled, and they cannot fan
the vertical Culver sign,
risen like held smog.
Headlights on cars move
indistinguishably in time-lapse circles,
one after the other after the other.
(originally published in The Literary Commune – Issue #4, April 2015)