NYE, 2010

that was the monochrome new year
I reached for your leg like a frog with long
tongue and you were on
the couch flyswatting everyone

the walls were drunk too the way
we behaved in the wild dorms
animals celebrating the turn of a page
the setting of the sun it was winter

in Berea and we held each other
like it would never be warm
again we caught snowflakes on
our tongues left black bottles in dead grass

 

(originally published in Datura, Fall 2019)

Panera

I lost the important things
sweeping baguette crumbs
underneath an industrial
fan– cyclicality, the broom’s sashay
from one end of the room to
the next– sand blown from the center
of the desert, and how selfish
to keep water in the bottle
with other mouths to nurture.

 

(originally published in Adelaide, Fall 2019)

In Waves

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)

Drinking a Rhinegeist Truth

10:33 AM on July 4th
                  & if that ain’t some
                  gunslinging fortune

     my drinks have teeth
                      can’t mix with coffee

I am trying to stay awake
                      I am trying to stay

a firework of politically conscious
colors

most mornings the soup of ritual

I gnaw at the aluminum’s tab
                      when my beer has ended

I am not satisfied
                            no
                                 I am not satisfied

with this ending

 

(originally published in Datura, Fall 2019)

New July

This army of cicadas returns home
from a distant war– old love, we
retreat to our comforts after pulling
weeds– Kentucky Mule burns,
melting ice at the bottom of
the glass, I am on your couch
then inevitably your floor,
your hand on my knee.
Chatter from the gathering rises
just outside the back door,
footsteps up the stairs,
and we embrace against
the humming refrigerator,
pushing toward a lush
new vegetation.

 

(originally published in Adelaide, Fall 2019)

Click-Clack

we didn’t do yoga except your feet
on my shoulders & months later

you zip past me with my new lover
on your bicycle      the acacias stink

of memory      you see us arm
in arm on the way to the library

as we used to     too    but when we
kissed was a web spiders clung to

a hunger many legs couldn’t satisfy

 

(originally published in WINK, Winter 2020)