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)

Can’t Stop Coughing

I binge-take extra-strength cough
drops with gooey menthol centers

having come home from Thanksgiving
earlier than expected

temperatures in the 30s
a shrill turn in the wind

no one outside
but to yell at dogs

men summoning phlegm
hack away at progress

here I sit
alone loudly

perched against white
pillows dry-throated

the medicine kicks in
allows me to speak up

to silence the wall’s tongue
a quiet my body loves


(originally published in Hamline Lit Link, 2018)