Rare

This November morning,
too cold to rise from bed,
I peek out the window
and find a bleeding steak–
ribeye sky rare, red,
and delicious.

(originally published in ActiveMuse, Spring 2023)

Semi

I often disappoint myself,
though half-reckoning is
a wreck in the making.

Insensitive interstate a
random number generator,
impartial to chaos. This rush

hour pileup from heart
to mouth. I say I love you
like it is always summer,

but today marks fall. Why this
world spun me into Pittsburgh
eludes me. This is not a yearning

for old light, coated in cinnamon.
I laid my head on your chest
and the rest happened like history.

(originally published in Adelaide Literary Journal Anthology, Spring 2021)

World Series, 2019

First baseball game I’ve seen this season– game seven
of the World Series, Houston versus Washington. A sea
of orange in Texas. Scherzer versus Springer. Joe Buck
talks about muscle injections, pinched nerves, breaking
ball– full count. He says this series is full of big swings,
big emotions– isn’t that a normal week? Dad watched
every Cleveland game. Ever. For a summer I did,
too, but October is chillier than usual. Last week, we
buried my oldest brother. We used to play sports
games– Triple Play 2000, Gran Turismo– on the
basement’s cold, brown carpet, where all physics
hurtled toward inevitable destinations: a ball singing
through the air into a blurry glove, or tires spinning
through some grainy tunnel. We’d trade wins, half-
luck, but there was always a conclusion. Last year,
I held his hand in the hospital. He squeezed my
fingers and said what he couldn’t with his eyes.
Last week, he didn’t get the kidney he needed.
When Washington wins, I see men cry on each
other’s shoulders. When my brother dies, my brother
cries on my shoulder. I cry on his shoulder.
And when we look at each other,
we find someone we both miss.

(originally published in Knot Literary Magazine, Fall 2021)

Fall, 2019

I’ve survived this far to get to fall,
and now auburn trees are nowhere.
Driving long distance– abundance
of green. Or branches, waiting for
that next temporary warmth. Used
to be we’d take a short vacation
to the northeast in October. Now
it’s a dice roll. Can’t take time off
at all for Maine. Can’t lose a single
dollar, lest dead leaves will cover
the lawn, the mouth, the moon.

 

(originally published in Fishbowl Press, Winter 2020)

Kimmy Granger

The green blanket over your head–
Kimmy Granger gets fucked
by a fake photographer
on your iPhone in my hand.
Meanwhile, you ride me, moaning–
it’s snowing– December’s waning
autumn days– awaiting a kind of fate
under flicked-off lights
in the gray of afternoon.
Before this, we reminisced about
the early days– laying in bed my hand
in your hair listening to music.
Then late July laying in grass saying
the ways we make each other happy.
Which is why I must rewind this clip
over and over to the part where Kimmy
is smiling and laughing before
the whole thing starts and
I pine for the blanket, your
green thread and lint.

 

(originally published in Ghost City Review, Winter 2018)

Winter’s End

Smoking, joking winter asking how to
                                         take things slow.
Drinking, sinking field is thinking about
                                         to let spring go.

Laughing, baffling cold front having one last
                                        frigid kiss.
Slicing, striking freak-snow lightning– go on,
                                        make a wish.

The cherry blossom knows there is a chance she’ll never bloom.
                             Wish for her, dear poet. Wish she’ll flower soon.

 

(originally published by Toe Good, Winter 2018)

Athens, Ohio

The city was dead when we went
so we intended to fill ourselves
with black magic found
in skeletons on the street.

Look how roots of fallen
trees meld with earth.
Go where lines still meander
on your palms–

we did not share with ghosts
when we reached the end,
no words whispered into steam
of dim lights and Darjeeling,

no further graffiti for your blue
telescope eyes peering through time
to the origin of your cosmos, when
your essence poured from your sleeves

but carried less starlight than it does now.

 

(originally published in The Stray Branch, Spring 2018)