Dad knew which fuse box switch did what–
in this way, he chose for us the light and dark.
His hands blackened from cracking walnuts
over the years, hammering husks in the
night when the rest of us were sleeping,
loud whacks startling us temporarily awake then
drifting back into our own darknesses beneath familiar
stars. After his death, we found Dad’s walnuts
in barrels in the corner of his workshop alongside
spiders and memories we could not yet scrape.
My brother said, to honor him, we had to break
and eat each one, despite the bulk. That Dad lived
a rich life poor, that the taste might activate
memory’s accordion, careening us in and out
the past and present, turning life to death then life
again, discordant in its forlorn loudness.
(originally published in 3Elements Review, Spring 2018)
look in the mirror
that’s the ghost of you
a fraction of a second ago
I look into my lover’s eyes
and she seems alive though
I know we’re wilting
together when we hold
hands the action is
a time traveler
our atoms providing
the illusion of touch
but what of the heart
does the beating keep
us breathing or the
faith that we might be
my head rests
on your chest
echoes of eternity
I am both part of
(originally published in Hamline Lit Link, 2018)
Some birds zigzag
below shrapnel clouds
and others, perched
on limbs, chatter
in this chill
because the leaves
in your yard
are a different shade
than your neighbor’s,
but each tree
casts its own
ballot into earth
for the season
all the dead
beneath your boots
along the way
to the church
with the cookies
you pass big,
with American flags
on porch steps
and city workers
who have been
fixing power lines,
for so many months,
and so many months
(originally published in The Rising Phoenix Review, Fall 2017)
The chairs we sit in are steel
horses, sad and dead. What you said
at the gallery in the warehouse was
to you, I have only given death and cookies.
Or corpses confused with candy.
Your cheeks puff, withdraw.
You’re silver in ceramic.
If I were a romantic I’d say
you belong in the painting.
Longing, always. But I am
a romantic. When we strolled
the botanical gardens we found longing
in the plants deemed poisonous.
How close I get to each sweet thing.
How close each is to death.
(originally published in Pif Magazine, Winter 2018)
I add more
I add more
(originally published in Misty Mountain Review, 2017)
Fill the cracks so the ants can’t infest.
This is the poison applied for feeding:
urine-yellow icky glue sealing lips
to take home to another body. Sometimes
words stick where I open my mouth–
the crevice between us not letting you in.
I, too, have brought small gifts back
underground thinking them an olive
branch. Each attempt kills one way
or another. Malignant misinterpretations.
I return with this pellet of words.
This killing I never meant to witness.
(originally published in Abstract Magazine, Fall 2017)
Gates clot with distance: other thickened loves not directly related
to active devices are increasingly important for post-fabricated
hearts to facilitate not only process control, circuits, electric life,
but also accuracy of simulations critically dependent on parasites–
your fundamental process parameter.
A thinner gate enables smaller, faster transistors to critically affect
hearts: techniques were developed to provide accurate values.
X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy: you materialize as light
witches on. Auger electron spectroscopy: hold the sun in its light.
Secondary ion mass spectrometry. Transmission electron microscopy.
And the meaning lost in poetry.
And you I lose in visible light.
(originally published in The Icarus Anthology, Summer 2017)
my mother logs in
watches lives unfold and bend
others offer words of glass
like there used to be something there
something that refreshed and renewed
(originally published in The Stray Branch, Spring 2018)
the muffled songs
made me wonder
who played violin
on the other side
who cradled the bowstring
whose long haunting moans
whispered my name
in its dried throat
beyond the wooden wall
who itself whispered
its own ghosts
its dead fingerprints
to live again
(originally published in The Bond Street Review, Summer 2017)
has no teeth
in his exit.
along the edges
of the street.
A tomato grows
in your garden
of the fertile.
Dust and ice
compose the rings
What else is there?
Cries long lost
in the stars.
(originally published in Nixes Mate Review, Summer 2017)