My lungs have drowned in fluid–
I can’t stop coughing. Who am I

to survive in all this death
and pollution? Land-dweller, ill-

fitted? The sea regurgitates
its dead– whales on white sand

shores, fish entwined in kelp.
The old organisms– from where

we began– return to land,
beg us to let them walk.


(originally published in Freshwater Review, Spring 2020)

The Cough

The fractured stone tunnel hollows.

Browned winter leaves
crackle into crumbs.

Birds’ humming stirs into
a white blanket of silence.

That’s when we deadlock to distrust
& wake, shirts faded, stained

with verbal gunshots. Never
too early for shared cocktails,

never too healthy, or sick,
for what you know to be lodged

in your esophagus, bits of
chicken & asparagus held

together as a spell, or a mantra:
shake me, martini, shake me.

Make me loathe a little more.


(originally published in Random Poem Tree, Winter 2016)