Waiting in the airport and the ceiling fluorescents
are arranged like a runway askance and I know
I am running from what cannot be salvaged:
a week ago we soared through the sky
with all parts intact and fully functional.
I didn’t need to look out deep, endless windows
of fields and plane-paved paths and houses and wonder
where I belonged, how an engine could so quickly find fault,
how its parts could rust in her thrust into eternity–
we will never have the biology to fly, no matter
our construction, no matter the fantasy of the air–
and the air is a fantasy you breathe easy and pure
but the higher you go the more lungs constrict the heart
and light breathing becomes impossible in the heavy beating
that feels like so much excess baggage it will encumber
the great invention and bring it tumbling to earth,
where we begin and always end–
where, in the vast expanse of land I have no choice but to
stay bound to, I stare up toward the full, cloudy sky
and watch the great, miraculous wings of blackbirds
descend slowly on telephone lines beyond reach
to know what I am made of will never be enough.
(originally published in Rust + Moth, Autumn 2016)
Heard the word son alone in the kitchen
of my childhood home.
His gravelly drawl was unmistakable.
I waited for him to say more, but
memories of my father are strangers
to each other. And every stranger
becomes a ghost passing
through another stranger’s life.
A wind tapped at the window,
wanted to say something, too.
When he was alive,
I did not listen
until I wanted
and I did not want
until he was silent
in a disposable suit.
I gave it a shot: pressed my ears
against the shingles, cold.
(originally published in In-flight Literary Magazine, Fall 2016)
I do not perceive you as obsessed with death
even if, days before, our jovial talks of dying
led to sugar-frosted blue wondering at the sky.
We planned to pop champagne for the birth
of feeling alive: winter hardens soil so we must dig
to the laughter we share in our spines.
We did not drink white wine, but the beer was breath
without knowing the scent– like any year,
we were paintings of light and dark, of limb
and bone so disordered to stand is a triumph,
and hope is a kaleidoscope, a conjecture.
Each dying wave returns, even at the frayed edge
of memory, how the dead are lavish with flowers
and stories. Still, we press on to uncork
our champagne future: drafts of breath in each
new year, dead waves haunting the mortal tide
with no specific beginning, no obvious end.
(originally published in Liquid Imagination, Summer 2016)
the room infiltrates us / fabrics and hangers / bedroom who is this / who are you i / don’t want you / to leave / i / haze / the fog / machine whirs / the pillow / smells like morning / orange banana strawberry / smoothie sweat old / and citrus / the blender whirred / like the black drawer / pulled in and / out / the routine is / the blue / sheet draped / stained forever / the blue / digital alarm / never woke us / sit / sit / black leggings / where are you going / healthy healthy / we draw lines / the visible line / the horizon / with those smoky faraway / buildings / the end is / never coming / we cannot see it / from where we sit
(originally published in The Legendary)
You wanted to eat my face
just as seven A.M. south Oregon fog
conceals trees over a low valley.
I wanted the same of yours.
What you liked was the sky descended:
how you’re able to grip, fleetingly,
the mortal, shifting clouds–
to think, I have touched the untouchable.
Many pines, from a distance, can be held
by two fingers. We can choose to let them dangle
The fog consumes and rises
while we watch the sun burn slowly west.
When the rain begins,
the soft pattering against the windshield
mimics the sound of your jaw
fake-chomping my cheeks–
The speedometer oscillates
between sixty-five and ninety.
The hillsides change so suddenly
with every mile– shifting smiles hidden
by a fog you know will also fade.
(originally published in VAYAVYA)
*Nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Writing Knights Press in 2017
we rode bikes laughing
the sun pedals woof wild
index fingers pointed mountaintops
hiking heat in flip - flops
canopy games spilled blue ink
blueing the vodka pool
on your knees you told me
it was too early
you like to be teased
all we had.
(originally published in
S/WORD - Issue #5)
(originally published in Torrid Literature Journal – Volume XIV, April 2015)
there are many flowers come across paths
alongside apartments but nonesuch like the
hyacinth rose wrapped tightly as such stands
outside a tiny market in view of black-grim
graffiti reading with a smile worth at least fifty
fifty-cent avocados because spring lays beyond
the peel of skin like waking up to jumbled
white sheets with the knowing of presence past
white walls hanged with stationary song which
would sing if only strings could strum themselves
(originally published in The Bitter Oleander, Spring 2015)