Often, before a haircut, I make
the joke to a friend– I don’t know
if you’ll recognize me later!
In the chair, the barber holds
scissors, removes my glasses.
His form blurs in the mirror.
At the conclusion of a cut, I
must accept the physical
implications of my new self.
But my friend Kurt once said
in each moment we become
a different person, our atoms
scrambled with each second’s
footstep, our hairs scattered on
the floor– they, too, rearranging.
(originally published in Miranda House Philosophy Magazine, Spring 2021)
It is possible
for electrons like you
to have a long-
before the transition
whale songs, wet
until light slips
through the spaces
of our fingers:
Glow. We know
for starting and ending
are the same.
After the initial
burst, let’s become
a more stable state
we won’t gradually
(originally published in Thirteen Myna Birds, Summer 2018)
Quantum physics have never been
more real than in this steaming
silver pot of Annie’s shells
and cheddar butter and milk
I’m cooking and the cat in our house
attacks crumpled-up balls
of paper yet sprints in fear
when a toilet is flushed. We are
all in orbit. You and me and
Earth and spoon in pot
mixing components into
tornado and I don’t know
where the melting butter
ends up nor the cheese
or where I’ll be in ten
years or a thousand
because our atoms
can diverge into
two paths any given
THE FIRST PATH
the one where you and I and most our friends and family are still alive
because ten years is a long time someone both of us love has died
it’s my father I see dandelions on the dead a suit and tie something
he never would have worn & your mother her silky dress and
Avon perfume wafting through the wake the frost her
permanent winter bed
THE SECOND PATH
the one where you and I and all our friends and family are still alive
because ten years is a long time someone both of us love will die
I see a bowl of ashes I see dead dandelions wilting on the stove
the steam carries souls up into my nose where I recall the heat
and depth of the Grand Canyon sun pressing against my
neck Dad in his thick glasses & sweat arms around me &
I pick up a stone & throw it over the edge
(originally published in The Courtship of Winds, 2019)
Newton knew the force of a desire
determined the severity of impact.
If you want an apple, the thought will travel
far to haunt you. Calculus was invented
to make sense of your absence. Such
is the memory of July: Beach House
in dim lighting, your bed beside the stairwell.
One could almost roll over and…
walking up those stairs the first time,
you were not there, but searching for your
cat outside, later found hiding in the ravine.
You wouldn’t let me stay, not yet.
I would carry silence into
waning days of weeks then feast
on all the words you spoon-fed me.
I failed to boomerang magic into our
silent field, unlike our first date: cheap
chicken on the patio of World of Beers,
talking what it would take to unlock
our true selves. You called Colin
to buy molly, though I’d never
rolled. Like everything else,
that plan flaked and you never
thought of me again.
(originally published in Man in the Street Magazine, Winter 2018)
When a system is given
an initial input of velocity,
it will vibrate freely
upon release. The ground
will undergo occasional
displacement. In running,
we invite earthquakes
with periodic force. In leaving,
the engine drives
with rising speeds.
In real systems, energy
dissipates. The system damps,
often unnoticeably. When friction
ends, the memories displace,
and your face becomes
a jumbled mess of cables,
of mouths in wired eyes
so tangled by the heart.
(originally published in The Magnolia Review, Fall 2017)
You can recover anything. If you can’t,
you will. What you seek exists
but has left for the black hole of knowledge
steady at the center of the galaxy.
You will become a different person,
renovate the house but keep the windows.
You will find a new lover but process
bits of data still there– the comparisons
and air hurtle toward end-time, the end
line unquantifiable by any metrics of the heart,
of time complete and incomplete starts.
There is a long black hair lodged in your beard
from a lover though the body has moved on.
You forget the names of things you know
but know what they are, how you can have mind
without soul but no soul without mind.
You can live a new life
without losing the old.
(originally published in the hour after happy hour, Fall 2017; also published in The Cadaverine Magazine)
We have so far to fall.
weaken in descent.
Photons of longer wavelength
Do not wait for morning to end.
Allow its gradual mean to untangle
of a lover’s vine,
complex and intimate.
Coefficients teach us
probabilities for absorption
and emission are the same.
We take what we give.
The initial absorption
in a more stable state.
Hold light for as long as you can.
(originally published in The Write Place at the Write Time, Summer 2017)
Force plus distance creates the want.
Machines make work easier to do:
pick up the phone and call her.
A sloped surface can move the heart
from one peak to another by decreasing
exerted force per beat while increasing
the distance over which the want
can travel– a simpler way to have
without the work of wanting.
(originally published in Randomly Accessed Poetics, Spring 2017)
the mylar unicorn balloon juts out of my moodlighting lamp
& won’t lose air sealed lips but the horn’s starting to sag
it’s not sad it’s entropy how slowly things around you deteriorate
I look at my unmade bed & puppy fur on the floor & the wind
beats at the window it’s the first day of spring & my voice is hoarse
with allergens so texting you downstairs & we’re scared something
bad may come of us that our own house will fill with mercury whether
in tapwater or shower water or the plug to come undone that causes
the washing machine to overflow and it will
(originally published in Maudlin House, Spring 2017)
It was Maxwell
can be extended.
My theory is
it is possible
if we are infinite
strings of numbers,
if an unknown
of remaining days
makes us immortal.
as I can
just to feel
does the universe
with the heart’s
The night sky’s
(originally published in Columbia College Literary Review, Spring 2017)