Cursed, Not Cursed

Whichever– we were followed
by a love, chanting mantras
in the dark beneath each doll,
each horsehead. And to say there
was a countdown– I masked my own
face. Then fate bugsprayed the spirits
that wanted to haunt our hearts
in this crickety home forever.


(originally published in In Parentheses, Spring 2020)

For Halloween I’ll be Jesus You Be Mary Magdalene

my cigarette-smoking badass waitress
      the Bible I’ll defenestrate at 3 A.M.

               Mary I went to Catholic school
while Josh played bagpipes at the Oval

Absorb tradition with sugary cocktails
               I didn’t say a word in the play

               as Pontius Pilate    I wouldn’t
               have contributed

Watch men get crucified by wine
Watch women excise their seven demons

                            this party’s a tomb
                            of sacred skeletons

leave it to the wild dogs to feast
on the bottles of Jagermeister

            we drink blue glasses
            of Zombie in the corner


(originally published in Down in the Dirt, Winter 2020)

The Solipsists

When I tell you of my existential crisis in the shower,
of being frozen in the rain of hot water and steam,
afraid of being alive inside a universe that perhaps has

only a limited number of consciousnesses to hand out
like a bowl of Halloween candy in the dim porch light
(don’t knock, just take) – why was I born with human

privilege? I could have been a beetle hiding from
bombs in a country bleating with siren and flame.
Why this panic as I soap myself inside the pleasures

of plumbing? You tell me you don’t know if I exist,
and it’s funny a figment of your imagination would
be sowing doubt upon your own living. I tell you it’s

funny a figment of my imagination says the same, which
you say sounds like something an illusion would say.
We drink Lagunitas in a beam of window sunlight. One

of us will live forever in the simulation of our sandbox,
the black cat floating on the wobbles of my knees, purring
softly into dark sweatpants discernible from nothing else.

(originally published in Subnivean, Winter 2021)

We Try on Masks at Dollar General

Which is to say we kissed many strangers
today, so many mouths without knowing.

Both of us date someone else now, though
lock eyes through pinholes of cheap latex,

despite the guises’ vacant stares– these two,
skeletons. Admire the wrinkles of bendable

skull-skin. Remember our bones– last summer,
our bodies thin crackers. Could snap first sink

of snow but we survived last winter, the fall
of our alcoholism, nearly a year passed,

still fighting. I miss the bricked patios
of our Old North bars, sloshing ice cubes

around until disappearing into fog.
Only now, with new identities,

do we walk through the door.


(originally published in Midway Journal, Spring 2018; Nominated for Best of the Net)

Heart Surgery

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)