When I Say I Love All Animals I Mean From Inside

   drinks from
           furry pond
               beside the catmansion

and I am ashamed–

       little vestibule of living
             as are we all this
                   needy, then,
                 these walls
                      the fringe
                            what we say is
                                     we shoo away


(originally published in The Headlight Review, Spring 2020)


We walked through Giant Eagle hungry
as hell after work wondering what
we could afford to eat. Mom left avocados
just past ripe at our house on her way to
Myrtle Beach and we knew we had to cut
their soft skins tonight or never. Food is no
good in the garbage. Privilege has steeped
itself into me in ways I am not proud of. We
want what we want which sometimes means
we want beyond our means. We use one
checking account to deposit our tips and
want to eat out if we can’t eat chips with dip
at the moment but stop ourselves to remember
we have free food, and at the moment it’s true.
The stomach also wants what the heart wants,
to be fed like an ATM– someone’s unlimited


(originally published in Pomona Valley Review, Summer 2019)


I have been trying to cough up the bald eagle
lodged in my heart, but only feathers have landed
wet on this dirt. I love this country, but this is too white
for me to say. Too long have I been silent in privilege
while our nation’s darkest forces– white-winged
and fire-breathing– cast their manifest, the harming
kind of loudness. There is no one in my life who
admits agreement with white supremacy, but I also
know there must be– and if silence is complicity,
I must be no longer. So I cough out the beak, the flag,
the gun whose silent bullets I have already fired.
I am so sorry for the silence–
everyone I haven’t known I have hurt.


(originally published in Rise Up Review, Winter 2018)