Dream with Hurricane

Florida’s coast the horizon gunmetal
and the gales drive me into a house
where I ramble in garbled non sequiturs
about God highways marijuana to a cop
whose intent is to arrest me but he says
he does not have the authority yet
I say you’ll get there then after
the wreckage the cop works as a clerk
in the city’s only shelter     I ask
if there’s room and he says not yet

 

(originally published in Hollow Tongue, Spring 2018)

Before You Leave for Jacksonville

I awaken on a cold-coiled spring
day in which the car won’t stop
spitting fumes into mouths this steering
wheel won’t budge any way but forward
though we veer to the side past white center
line on highway under full moon to fill
our gas tanks with flowers found in eyes
fluttering in wind right when I say
I love you this time I mean it

 

(originally published in Epigraph Magazine, Winter 2018)

 

 

On the Precipice of Long-Distance

The universe ends
or is supposed to. It lives
in your bed– mornings tangled

with laughter. In a week you will move
to Florida. A week ago we swayed
on swings away and toward each other.

A fling from disorder, we are no longer bound
to orbit. Still, I swat the air
in your fourth-floor apartment

overlooking the river to follow its movement
to determine when a body is real
and to what mouth it goes. For you,

it’s an airport. Until then, we hike
through forests building tree forts
to wooden-house our hearts.

At night, I search the stars for words
but can’t make sentences you tell me are there.
All I find is the slow motion of time,

then distance– since time’s beginning,
the universe took many small steps toward us
so let’s walk that way together.

If you lose me from great distance,
I will build a bridge so short
you’ll be right here from that far away.

 

(originally published in The Write Place at the Write Time, Summer 2017)

This Sky / This Room

We built a blanket fort
with tattered sheets
to hang from tacks
when Ohio clouds
obscured our view
of the meteor shower
we planned for
that August night.
You were to move
to Florida soon,
bask in sunshine
and clear skies.
Thus we adorned
my Da Vinci-blue
ceiling with glow-
in-the-dark stars
we promised to make
real if you stayed.
We wanted the
burning gravities
of our galaxies,
went to push-pin lengths
to achieve this.
We stabbed fabric
into walls until
gazing through thin
thread up a little
dimmer now.
You stayed– now
we find the glow
we planted
in the stars.

 

(originally published by Twelve Point Collective, Spring 2017)

Martian Waters

they found water there, so we can move to Mars–
red planet god of war never knew the need for mercy.

the milky way could use another arm,
another trillion, twinkling stars, a slow phase

pregnant with planets bearing
tall pines stabbing pink skies,

white mountaintops a cold heaven.
in America, communities die one tragedy at a time.

our rivers are rancid and oxygen is halitosis.
maybe we’re dreaming, drinking

through sunrise– that’d explain our inability
to reason, expecting god to save us

from a doctrine
more widespread than bullets.

maybe we trust too much– the way
we comfort the grieving, a surplus

of prayer, words passing the breeze.
there were clumps of dead leaves before autumn began.

it’ll be beautiful, what then.
the season will kill and kill.

we’ll mourn our addiction to mercy,
wonder if it’s worth it

to bring a child into the world,
shuttled from her innocent rest

to our blood, soil fresh and familiar.
what’ll autumn do, then,

with winter afraid
to enter a landscape

already dead?

 

(originally published in The Derails Review, 2016)