A river isn’t really blue. The Mississippi
has dried, and even love is transparent.
We adorn ourselves blue so loss
can be quantified in color. Such
is the brittle paintbrush, naked
and grieving, but we are not
the color of grieving,
nor tobacco spat in the dugout
in shame. We remember
the dirt, and who we loved,
long before we searched
clouds’ faces for ghosts,
her grays in the white
within eternal blue.
(originally published in ‘the vacant hinge of a song’, courtesy of Origami Poems Project)
I listened, during that foggy morning stroll
on the Golden Gate, when you alluded
to what it must mean to jump,
how it must feel to fall.
The foghorn blared every five minutes
from some ship we could not find beneath us.
We peered our heads over the low railing
and inhaled the gray.
Red telephones rang in our heads.
I can still hear the ringing
from the hotel’s broken phone–
thin wires dangled into lines
on our palms, curved and infinite–
an atlas to guide the whispers
we cupped into our hands
I feared faraway screams
or the deafening sound of cymbals, shards
of metal launched from the hinges
of what was thought secure–
I did not expect
in an instant, without percussion–
I did not expect the fog, how sterile
it seems, like the afterlife, how it turns
the familiar into silhouettes–
to make this any easier.
(originally published in riverbabble, Issue #28, Winter 2016)
You wanted to eat my face
just as seven A.M. south Oregon fog
conceals trees over a low valley.
I wanted the same of yours.
What you liked was the sky descended:
how you’re able to grip, fleetingly,
the mortal, shifting clouds–
to think, I have touched the untouchable.
Many pines, from a distance, can be held
by two fingers. We can choose to let them dangle
The fog consumes and rises
while we watch the sun burn slowly west.
When the rain begins,
the soft pattering against the windshield
mimics the sound of your jaw
fake-chomping my cheeks–
The speedometer oscillates
between sixty-five and ninety.
The hillsides change so suddenly
with every mile– shifting smiles hidden
by a fog you know will also fade.
(originally published in VAYAVYA)
*Nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Writing Knights Press in 2017