I will run you under water.
Your carved, concrete face.
Clothes you did not wear: tulip.
Leave your red suitcase on the floor.
The fanny pack, too.
Soft whistles: ghostly silk of burnt ember.
I am the only one you never needed.
Saliva on your bottom lip.
We sat warm on elongated bus rides.
Followed barren trees along the highway to places we won’t.
(originally published in The Magnolia Review, Summer 2018)
Evenings in the video lab laughing at ourselves acting in
perpetual circles the clicks of play and rewind in a dialogue
with eternity rectangular how to zoom into self with microscope
both of us learning but look at you now in the fighter jet
sky tethered to wirings of small precise instruments of war how
we live in the perpetual unknowing state of I want you always
to come home even not to me because back then
every small moment was contained in its forever
(originally published in Street Light Press, Spring 2018)
& she celebrates among the drunken dead at the Horseshoe
how ball-missiles fly through air and land cradled in young idols’ arms
I remember this,
fear of missing out– no: just missing
no want to pull winter hat over my ears
I drink spiked cider reminding me the summer river
no breathing fire into my palms into
the frigid heart of Columbus. No,
I am waiting for the pedestrians to pass my house. Mostly decked in red, some
in opposing green, almost like Christmas, but without–
family knows the apples I douse in vodka.
family knows my unwell.
family knows my eye toward the wind I find too cold
& blow against
been awhile since Kylie & I were breathing the same air
& I’ve got a kind of sixth sense for it
(I see dead people)
but not in a ghost way more like everyone I pass has ghosted
(the phantom passes in public)
& it’s true we both head home for the Christian holidays.
Cars passing the same routes
to different destinations.
Kylie’s down the street & I’m drowning here
making a scene
her silhouette at the surface joyous
(originally published in Qwerty, Spring 2018)
college, I learned
how to survive
with the GPA of
(originally published in SOFT CARTEL, 2018)
As I waited for my burger at Northstar
I saw they had copies of The Bitter Oleander,
and on the first page was the work
of my first poetry professor.
Buzzing on metaphor,
I sent an email to tell her
that they’ve also published me before
but it has been a couple of years.
She told me
to sleep it off.
(originally published in EgoPHobia, Spring 2018)
The mossy green– temporary escape.
Rustled leaves– this unkempt half-space.
The oak– an institution.
My faith in marriage drops deeper
and deeper into a canyon
of dirty plasma. It ghosts
and snakes away, blunges
expectations into a bent-
(originally published in Furtive Dalliance, Winter 2018)
Sweet-suckled Slovenian lips–
Cleveland where I found you,
Columbus were you lost.
Some days a black blanket
we would lay under to seek stars
seeking something cold &
how our temperatures dropped
over the years. We’d burn nights
matchstick young, whiskey and coke,
peel clothes to cool– so the blades.
Puckered and bundled, how to cut
& create tiny crescent moons.
(originally published in The Penmen Review, 2018)
In memory of Chris Hull
wait for rainy days
there is never
in the weather
the sun laughs
as it always does
when I receive the call
I find the nearest tree
to brace myself
it’s the only darkness
approaching the hospital
still takes her living
at being alive
(originally published in Muddy River Poetry Review, Spring 2017)
we bend and fold to keep
some memories alive
we, with our doughy cores
salty to the lick,
rose and contracted,
twisted into rope,
into ebb and echo, ripples
of the faintest caress,
indented on the crust
(originally published in Scarlet Leaf Review)
from bed we stared upward
at dead bugs in the light fixture
dark spots scattered so motionless
at the foot of what blinds and allures
you said I’m not going to remove them
I mentioned the blinds were parted this entire time
you said a homeless man lives across the street
but the cold and snow would prevent anyone from watching
the light was dimmed
neither of us intended escape
I learned a stinkbug can withstand temperatures
of negative twenty I had tossed one into snow
and it froze meaning its heart turned cold
in an instant and I expect it to
the shell lifeless and its own
dark spot in the snow
the walls were already painted olive
you said you could live with that
we guessed the time and now past midnight
you hadn’t done your reading for the morning
so I returned to the salted road
cruising past dark snow
and trees no cars
no other lights
for miles just ice
just cold just frosts
and frozen bugs
to bring some kind of meaning
(originally published in Ohio Edit)