Further, Further

I know the pang of distance / ghost of friendship cold air
conditioned inauthentic rumblings no more / passage into
the familiar / sea / a yellow boat rocks near the Atlantic
shore / I evade the sun / seek any shade to shield myself
of affection / affected by the moon / far apart again no /
                                                                   vacation for the heart

 

(originally published in The Blue Pages, Summer 2018)

Two Workouts

Sara dances to a Zumba video on her laptop
at the kitchen table I eat chocolate chip cookies

the dog gets too close the moment she kicks air
he walks to a window to study his reflection I inhale

as Sara does the dog stares back exhales my reflection
consuming me but soon my body how my feet are bare

on coffin wood and Sara throws punches while dough
collapses in my fingers before I move grease to mouth

yes yes YES alongside the workout instructor to techno
beats a pitch of butter sugar flour down my gullet

I have accomplished an entire row from the baking pan
Sara says that’s enough but she means her water break

many minutes into sweat an eternity away from ending
she says her stomach hurts and I get it, mine too

(originally published in Indiana Voice Journal, Winter 2018)

Late

I am sorry I asked you
out piss-drunk at Mikey’s
at 3 A.M. a month
after we stopped
talking on Tinder

you told me I think
the time has passed
which was the most
polite way you could
have considering

this man you never met
came up to you erratic
and slurring–
men can be time
bombs single

and desperate
actions to regret
I should
have apologized
sooner

(originally published in Umbrella Factory, Fall 2018)

Southbound in February

  Almost swerved to Akron
      to delay our southbound silence
          before another car skidded into steel.
                 We smoked exhaust
            with sedans which scrunched
                    around us. Wiper squeals
            revealed hymnal landscapes
                through murky glass.
              I revel in footprints buried by snow
                                             yet do not know what–
                               if our black tires composed
                                     cadenzas in the slickening slush,
                           ambulance’s red, beating
                                    bongos thumping toward us
                                            –what we could have said
                                                   that would have ever been enough.

 

(originally published in The Slag Review, Winter 2017)

Boredom

I inspect my bedroom’s walls for new specks
after changing dead bulbs in the low sky
of this house I’ve lived in for three years.

Airplanes have always sounded the same,
haven’t they? I’ve slept close to airports
and railroads my entire life, hear engines

coming on like symptoms no need to pay attention
to, low hum in your throat mourning out
of the night. By now you’ve watched friends soar

into the horizon to break the illusion
of life’s infinite line, seen the cord dangling
down from the clouds and sometimes

                                                                                   you reach for it

(originally published in Umbrella Factory, Fall 2018)

Stray

The way the cat looked at me
                       after his treat–

         the difference was ours has a home.

And God I am so ashamed.

                          They are the same

but I was on our unfamiliar
       porch
             swinging

a bag of sustenance

           like unlimited pleasure

                you needed

                      for survival

 

(originally published in The Magnolia Review, Summer 2018)

Advil

I take one pill        two
to mask what’s wrong in me
these hurtful words     mouthing
sorry in the dark      I shouldn’t rub
your back       when my partner’s
on the coast       on a beach       here
it snows        yes      I know
this is no excuse      tasteless tablet
smudged slate        white mountain
I am the one percent meaning
I’m money poor      but lucky to
live in the age of modern medicine
a dentist takes a drill
to my root      and neither of us
feel anything     a surgeon cuts
into Dad’s heart         anesthetics
these aches we carry daily
the privilege      why we don’t
say sorry     when we mean it
at the drug store I buy a knife

 

(originally published in The Wayward Sword, Summer 2018)