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)
and I am on fire too ready
to burn Panera down
no one really wants this hospital
food its chemicals inside
that make it breathe the bread
is moving if you watch
close enough its heartbeat
in your mouth we are all on
fire this former dead living
animal a baguette string inside
my intestines there are wings
in my salad flapping dead cells
floating and all I can do is be
the sun and burn the whole world
then flush my throat with water
(originally published in Madness Muse Press, Fall 2020)
It comes in waves, the grief, though you laugh
as you say so, because we are in the Atlantic,
children again, uppercutting large tides,
and I never learned to swim, but the saying–
the metaphor– is true, the water is relentless,
and we were states away from the hospital,
where your father was, when you got the
call, and later, in our hotel’s game room,
there was a balancing act– you, your family,
the ping-pong paddles on the black table,
the plastic balls rolling slowly onto the floor
at the end of another meaningless game, the
bouncing, then physics, entropy ending–
how else to reconcile lost time? This dusting,
this airing out, now, swimsuits soaked from
the salt of the sea, this fabric, this residue
dripping off of this vacation into the old
Civic, the broken A/C, the windows’ open
breeze, silence of the road lodged between
green hills, so endless, our breathing.
(originally published in Creative Writing Ink’s Monthly Contest, November 2019 Winner)
Vital signs at zero, a squiggly line gone infinity–
guess what I’ve prepared for. An eternity of this
nothingness. I tossed the phone like a grappling
hook at your distance and it caught. You left it
hanging on the bricks, though, and moved to
California, where I used to sleep the streets in
my Ford Fiesta, the same car we drove to Melt:
a time bomb heart attack. How close we were
back then, each deep-fried grilled cheese bite
hushed the thrumming. Fingers greasy– wiped
on napkins, wiped and wiped and wiped.
(originally published in Hedge Apple, Spring 2019)
sharp turns for the hospital’s worst
left left left.
sometimes the beeping
(turn my bed)
or the yellow window birds.
looking for cardinals
through interstate belt loops
or rings of cigarette smoke.
some days are asthmatic
others are just right.
the warmth of a blanket
this hole no one will lift you out of.
(originally published in Gyroscope Review, Spring 2018)
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)