I often disappoint myself,
though half-reckoning is
a wreck in the making.
Insensitive interstate a
random number generator,
impartial to chaos. This rush
hour pileup from heart
to mouth. I say I love you
like it is always summer,
but today marks fall. Why this
world spun me into Pittsburgh
eludes me. This is not a yearning
for old light, coated in cinnamon.
I laid my head on your chest
and the rest happened like history.
(originally published in Adelaide Literary Journal Anthology, Spring 2021)
Dog through the window– charcoal snow
and peanut-speckle brushstrokes– I watch you
served by our server on the patio under
Azorean’s white umbrella. If only I could be
of service to a creature so brown-eyed and sacred.
I want to be good, too, and melt the heart of people
I encounter. But I am out of it– I still feel new here
and spend my workweeks isolated and curious
for the world I miss around me, its strangers
a wild pack wandering the streets, searching
for any scent that spells joy. How mine smells of cinnamon
blocked by endless windows overlooking a sea of blue
recycling trucks inside a sharp metal fence, and– even now–
I peer through glass, smelting, as our server rubs your head,
as passers-by smile as they go wherever they must go.
I want to be unleashed, too– to put both knees on
concrete, pet the fur between your ears, and
inhale, together, Saturday’s shared freedom.
(originally published in Hello America, Fall 2019)
soaring over beach over mountain over cloud
that’s a long reach but when you moved down
the street past the café I thought this was fate
the way we kept in contact for years and after
four years you agreed to a date and we drank
and ate at Bodega where we talked for three
hours about your new nursing career and you
told me how you breathe air into patients and
care for them night-shift but you still want to
write fiction and memoirs but with memories
still ahead not experienced fast forward three
years I’m driving Uber and pick you up randomly
you’re with your lover you tell me you’re sick
of your sick patients you’ve run out of patience
and furthermore you were miserable in the era
we hung out backtracking not because of me
but because you never left home now I have a
lover you’re excited to attend my book release
(originally published in The Virginia Normal, 2018)
I am full of vacancy and noise and technically six glasses
of water before bedtime. Much can be said about wanting
to purify yourself. I dipped myself in water again last
week. I’m telling you it works: you mash two bodies
together until fizzled and deflated on the cusp– saggy but
renewed. Steam leaves the bucket with a fat-lipped breath,
purple. Sometimes it does not work. By the hearth,
just your long, brown hair. By the heart, nothing.
Just a worn wood by the cabin in the woods.
Mountains of snow in my head– she freezes
my thoughts at the peak. A gambler. A hope.
Red strings. A harp. Faith. Burn, burn, burn.
(originally published in Thirteen Myna Birds, Autumn 2016)