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)
stopped telling truths
her collapsed desire
was in Buddha’s
winds of prayer change
as seasons pass
to the lost mantles
of our mouths’
we no longer have
(originally published in In-flight Literary Magazine, Winter 2017)
You learn your plane
has been delayed
You remind yourself it has nothing to do
with you. The cause must be
something mechanical– a loose cap or
calibration error. The crew
does not have to say it’s not you,
it’s us because by now you know
the sigh of steel wings, how planes take
a while to ascend anyway.
How insignificant– this delay
stretches hours and a kind
voice speaks through white
noise on the loudspeaker like
she wants to say there is something
we can do to make a difference.
The plane will have the sky when
it is ready. Until then,
do not say it is broken.
(originally published in Little Patuxent Review, Winter 2016)
i know it’s the other way around
but i see the dogs in people
that intense hunger of waiting
by a wooden door so close to the thrust of opening
i want to eat the walls that keep you away
the doorknob you twist to leave
the blankets you always hide beneath
i hold my waste for hours
the measured discipline
when you speak your breath is memory
what you’ve consumed
i can’t look anywhere else
push me away i cling to you a vestige
of humanity is all remains the last living thing
who would love me
you and your bureaucratic affection
the withholding of every emotion
makes you vulnerable
i was born to want you by my side
like a star holds to gravity
before its collapse
some adherence to light
before the drift
the absolute zero of desire
far from the wild where
we were raised to want
close to where we want to be
(originally published in Viewfinder Literary Magazine, Summer 2016)
Before you had a name, you were a stranger
searching for one.
Gravel, asphalt, salt, and stone–
I pieced you together, a church from scratch,
your holiness in my uttered breaths
of limestone, mortar, love…
your tall steeple stabbed the sky.
I could hear clouds dissipate,
crows caw and congregate
in our mutual worship of you.
Maybe you never needed a name.
When you vanished, my heart
reconstructed itself with God’s rubble,
compounded from type-two plastic,
Coca-Cola cans, rubber bands…
I never learned your name. With my mouth,
my body aflame, your steeple burned.
Bricks and timber screened
the sky. The smoke and fade–
the gray, the fog– that
was your name.
(originally published in Pudding Magazine, Winter 2016)
(originally published in In-flight Literary Magazine, Fall 2016)
dishes are an exercise in repetition
why do we go through our days so quickly
we must be unhappy with material possessions
how we sustain ourselves
I am amazed I have sustained myself for so long
teenage years of french fries and ice cream
adult years of french fries and frozen pizza
there is nothing that greases my heart
more than eating macaroni and cheese
naked at 2 am
when I am bloodless
pots and pans hang on hooks on the kitchen ceiling
the landlord says our water bill is exorbitant
I think it is extraordinary
the parts of ourselves
we must pay for
steam billows out of the dishwasher
when it is done
we pay for that too
in august we chopped heads off of asparagus
rinsed our hands of the green bits
blue antibacterial bubbled white
champagne bottles cling to the wall
someone please set them free
so we can keep that bent and dying orchid
on our kitchen island
(originally published in Eunoia Review, Autumn 2016)
in every entered home
and they are similar
to ballet, a delicate
do not fall wherever
you cannot stand back up
but pirouette anyway– every room
spins the opposite of you.
Hair on the surface of bleeding
bricks. The house of
violent storms. Mortars
with every step.
Heaven, the insurance premium,
costs far too much.
We are legless because
we cannot stand. Wingless
because no one believed
we would fly again.
no one built us for the long-term.
There are nails in every crook
of skin– every place you look.
(originally published in The Black Napkin, Summer 2016)
The longer potatoes taste air, the more
they rust over time. We strummed
guitars with calloused fingertips
(melodious incision). The pot
overfills from the weight of boiling.
We whistled unfamiliar tunes through
afternoon orgasms. My teeth cannot chew
the raw. Steam will temper the room
enough to sustain our songs in my head.
I always liked to mix vegetables
into the mash, the music, but the days
are already too easy to cry. The onion
remains sheathed in its flaky armor.
Bunches of corn are never shucked.
Even the cheddar stays in plastic past
when these potatoes soften enough
to feed. The chords are always
harsh. We could never eat our fill.
(originally published in The Wagon Magazine, Autumn 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)