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)
on my scalp
in your laugh
on our tongues
(originally published in Gnarled Oak, Summer 2017)
We inhaled fog on the Golden Gate
along with traffic exhaust.
Foghorns cried names
we did not recognize.
Car horns, names we gave ourselves.
From this high, you said, there is no good
way to fall. We scrunched our fingers
to encapsulate the small
fragility fog brings– how, in a moment,
everything can change / fog
of ghosts rippling waves from long-
passed boats / fog of sitting in silence,
windows down / fog of steel cable’s
fading red / fog of missing
what we lost while sun cuts a way
(originally published in Eunoia Review, Fall 2016)
I am full of vacancy and noise and technically six glasses
of water before bedtime. Much can be said about wanting
to purify yourself. I dipped myself in water again last
week. I’m telling you it works: you mash two bodies
together until fizzled and deflated on the cusp– saggy but
renewed. Steam leaves the bucket with a fat-lipped breath,
purple. Sometimes it does not work. By the hearth,
just your long, brown hair. By the heart, nothing.
Just a worn wood by the cabin in the woods.
Mountains of snow in my head– she freezes
my thoughts at the peak. A gambler. A hope.
Red strings. A harp. Faith. Burn, burn, burn.
(originally published in Thirteen Myna Birds, Autumn 2016)
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)
ambled through snow to my bowl of ice
my calloused tongue on her cold
the bowl’s organ
I was a white door
textured and crumbling
in that manticorean dumpster
buds of teeth and name
where that doorknob would have been
the park on a picnic
her triangular table limbs
white oaks unhinged
and her cold drooping javelin wings
(originally published in Peculiar Mormyrid)
Paradise is worse than this. I’ve pissed
in the golden streets of Beverly Hills.
The stars depart their private cabs,
shoes on the ground. I’ve pissed in beach sand
with the waterbirds, the full balloon
at sunrise, wind swaying. The neighborhood
has my back. I spit fish fluoride
into grass. Splotches of next-day death
in circles brown and black. Windows fog. Yeah
I’m an airplane in a cloud. Should’ve wrapped that scarf
around my neck until my head fell off. The night is
a broken refrigerator, top shelf. Tell that to the rotting
trunk sushi. Still, some spiders creep through cracks and
keep the feet and urine smells out. Bent to a backseat
sockball and time is an envelope I hand to a stranger.
How his home stinks of sweat and mildew
and old Havarti. Fiona has crank windows
and that new car smell and floating dust.
I can’t spit enough. Blame it on the vermouth.
In the morning, I floss my coal moon fingernails
with flamenco strings. Neighbors run
past but who needs pants.
Say hello to the father and his
baby in the stroller. Say hello
to the fleshy whites. Say
hello to everlasting days
of luxury where the days
don’t end, the nights never
end, again and again
the fishing rod window
cranks, to invited crows–
the feasts of mud– say
hello and wave and caw.
(originally published in Prong & Posy, Issue 2)
the living room drones and mumbles.
the bone dove sings a petrified song
above the tree, nearly silent enough
to believe a resurrection could occur
in the coming days. pass the stocking
with the kidney stone. bring
the anesthetic. we will drink–
this is the blood bond, the calm,
the thin slicing of ham: bloodless
& calm, torn red wrapping paper
strewn about the room
(originally published in Whale Road Review, December 2015)
I want to ask how it feels to be a forest at night,
wood in your lungs.
Tell me the ancient sap suckles at your chest,
that you pine for a spell
of two-glass wine.
It’s negative-three for my plus-one
in this suburb, the
masked in time, this intruder.
No more imperfections
came so suddenly.
(originally published in The Rain, Party, and Disaster Society – August 2015)
in a snowstorm
next to you
on my mind
(originally published in
S/WORD – Issue #5)