Sleep Paralysis

At thirteen I awoke to a man-sized bat
waving black-eyed wings at the edge of my bed.

Back then, I believed there were unexplainable things
in the universe. Dad would talk about guardian

angels when he meant luck explains
a kinship with the divine. He still

drove his motorcycle beyond
the age of seventy. He fell asleep

one time in the green countryside
and awoke to blurry shoelaces

of the trucker who slammed into him,
amazed my dad still alive

and the proof in scraped knee
and a busted motorcycle somehow still

operational then driven home. Dad attributed
this, like most things, to angels. I could have believed

for much longer. As a kid, I watched E.T. ride
a bicycle in the window in our lawn every day,

his brown eyes never noticing me. Always
when I pointed this presence to my sister,

he was past the point of seeing.
Soon I stopped believing.

 

(originally published in The Tau, Summer 2018)

 

Like a Penny on a Sidewalk

I used to find joy in little things.

Like luck on the head
of a penny.

Or a tire chained
to a blue wall
in the subway.

Or two bullets,
no gun.

Or your glance
on long drives
beside the ocean.

I feel ill. I declare this heaven’s day.

No fool was a folk legend tragedy.
No fool a fish on a hook
reeled from the lake.

Tomorrow my hand leaves
your palm.

Your name, claws
on the four-drink ignition.

White rose– consider
a wing. Next, a thumb.

Voices, skies so blue…

I’d find your eyes play music.

 

(originally published in Eunoia Review, Winter 2017)

Mean Machine

The only good thing in this city
is my 1968 Coupe– long, slick, olive
green. Brakes, good. Tires–
fair. I may have worn the rubber too quickly
the way I sped through red lights after you said Jesus
would save me in these hard rains that summon
mud from yesterday, hell onto asphalt, and hiding
under the sheet you wouldn’t show me
your face anymore, said everything
turns to wine in time, but in this city there
are thousands of dry fish waiting for rain,
and you can be a kind of Jesus, you can
redeem your soul for bread.

 

(originally published by Eunoia Review, Fall 2016)

The Universe Necessarily Sends Metaphors

Swathed in bedbugs, draped
in the gloom of willing hearts
in collective song maddeningly
swept by enkindled starlight obscured,

fate sprouted flowers along
marshy graves and windtorn spokes
of the ethereal wheel of coincidences,
salvos brisk and violent, precisely when
the window-dead moth inched baby-bug steps,

when you plucked a magic eyelash
from a crook in my face, the numb
morning heat of your breath whispered,
in translation, morose and umber.

Now we wait, sanely, eyes closed,
for all the other things I wished
to bear gold in streets we walk
at night, hand entwined in yours.

 

(originally published in Glassworks, Fall 2015)

Egyptian Ratscrew

Waiting for a spade, or any jack, really.
The pool is deep in the shallow end.
Waxy chlorine splashes your baby oil eyes.
The sun lies between the tanlines on our skin
which make us ever chameleons. Not that we shift,
but we eat where we are wanted.
I give you the iPod touch with the black fungus.
You twirl your index finger.
Then we leave. The window cranks open.

 

(originally published in Little River – Issue 4)