Mortality as First Date

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)

School Bus in the Blizzard (Supper Waits)

The chicken soup swirls with the ladle.
Garlic and pepper steam the kitchen.

Limp horseradish soaks
at the pot’s silver bottom.

White meat swims laps in the yellow broth.
Animals do fine without bones.

The clock strikes a new hour.
The oven timer goes off

(or does it). Outside,
snow blinds the world.

Shovels conceal pavement.
There is no good way home.

 

(originally published in Freshwater Literary Journal, Spring 2017)

Sleeping Alone

I spend most nights in the company of shadow,
a universe to toss and turn, mind wandering
in the smell of strawberry shampoo– my sheets,
familiar honey. I sleep in a crater growing deeper
without you. At night, birds are mostly silent.
The occasional siren punctuates air and I hope
you are all right, wherever you are. Without
your orbit, I wake at six and the room burns
me dry. There must be a medical reason for this:
the heart, when under sheets, overheats
but when alone becomes so cold, to sleep
too long is dangerous, and the temperature
drops to near the threshold of memory– my hair
mussed in darkness by my pillow’s imitation
of what your hands might do
if they were here, wanting to be held again.

 

(originally published in Freshwater Literary Journal, Spring 2017)