After the Polar Vortex

Sixteen degrees sounds like spring, so I go for a walk.
I haven’t left the house in days– restless heart, I needed

scenery until I step into unshoveled snow. I sigh and scrape
the spade against the sidewalk to clear the path for travelers.

A woman rolls a spare tire along the street and, seeing snow
stick to rubber, I decide my walk must end in beer. I follow

her in the direction of the store and buy a six-pack of Truth
and head back home, where my partner asks where I went–

I don’t mean to keep things from her. I just say I needed
to clear my head, and that it’s drinking season. She says

I thought sunshine was drinking season, and that’s true,
too– I can’t go outside without wanting to drink, whether

flurry or thunder. Whichever road I walk leads to wanting.

(originally published in The Literary Yard, Spring 2020)

The Lion Takes Pride at the Salon

To have a mane
like the lion–
long, luscious,
and fertile.
I roam
the countryside
with black carpet
of hair. I
could not sleep
last night
car windows,
in the void
the grasslands
and savannahs,
summer air
a suffocation.
At least
I still look
like myself
to pass
for myself.
In Los Angeles
I was vulnerable
to indifferent
eyes, took shit
when I should
have dug
my claws
into the sand,
said I look
like myself.


(originally published in Fleas on the Dog, Spring 2020)

Adjusting to a New City (Thank You for Your Calls)

you say go
                 to the lake    I can’t

connection   (the multitudes

        slathered     in fog lotion)

                                               I have
believed in you
                                all our distant

foolishness    outside this realm
    of such irrelevant people


(originally published in Modern Literature, Spring 2020)

Columbus Crew SC

You said you’d be here hours ago,
weeks ago, months ago– last year,
we were late to the Crew game
then screamed nonsense to the crowd.
And then you told me you’d be back
and I waited, tethered to pole, while
the game ended and you were nowhere.
The bottles of mixed vodka we hid inside
the base of a lamppost was, miraculously,
still there at the end. But I changed
cities then came back to the light
shattered in the breath of a rubber band
slung outward toward infinity, the dash
of time not slowing any past collisions.

(originally published in G*Mob, Spring 2022)

Delaware Avenue

A thousand nights on the patio wine-
drunk only desire of the moon
between us. Jack’s barking was the
beating drum that kept us up all
night, and we’d just turn speakers
up to drown our axis in music.
I said I never want to be away
from you – you responded
aspens, cherry blossoms
near the end of March.


(originally published in Home Planet News Online, Fall 2020)


beer pong in daylight the yelling
sun chastises our weekday conundrum
of pennies thick-rolled in bank
accounts worth splashed gravel

I lose more than nostalgic games
and afternoons used to be the goal
was get plastered now there are
lingering lips on plastic cups

that need the wastebin
no one wants to clean up


(originally published in Hamline Lit Link, Spring 2020)

Beer Pong

beer pong is concentric
angles & behind-the-back
a miracle of physics

not that I understand
the finer maths of sport
I held an endless reservoir

of alcohol schoolnights turned
blue-lipped and blurred
pages flipped to I-don’t-know-

how-I-got-here one time
awakening on a bed of roses
at the belly of Constitution Hall

staring to the vacant moon
soaked in sticky juice a book
with its pages torn out

Factory Friend

we live the same lives
one limestone the other

the mountain gray clocks
hold hands in concentric

routines using boxcutters
to slash tape off freights

of textbooks the insular
world blurs platitudes

won’t make the day run
faster as the forklift as

convertible into stacks
of cardboard papercuts

eats away at my flesh
you lend me an apple

in leather gloves lunch
for the weary cores of

a warehouse we drive
away to separate lives

(originally published in Otoliths, Spring 2020)