to stay alive I must believe I am water
inside my own body inside the river
my living an arrow shot into the forest
ghost slashed open by every stranger
who claims to walk on water when
nothing but air parting is the motion
of feet scrambling to become some
sacred proclamation it is not
(originally published in S/WORD, Fall 2018)
It is possible
for electrons like you
to have a long-
before the transition
whale songs, wet
until light slips
through the spaces
of our fingers:
Glow. We know
for starting and ending
are the same.
After the initial
burst, let’s become
a more stable state
we won’t gradually
(originally published in Thirteen Myna Birds, Summer 2018)
I know we need to decompress because
there’s a multitude of zeroes airplaning
from our mouths while a jet drones above
and my heart is 01001010010 you tell me
your dad had a heart attack at 30 I hear
murmuring between my valves throat
clenched I want to kiss you but the
world is on fire and I want to turn
you off and on and off and on again
(originally published in Picaroon Poetry, Winter 2019)
The phone rings a silent coil around
the kitchen; the houseplants drink Coca-Cola
and rum. Some day soon your lover will leave
is already a dust mote dancing in the sunbeam
through your window. Carl Sagan writes from
the after-universe a love letter to the abyss and
attaches a minuet bouquet with an I’m sorry note.
How to apologize to whom we love when we are living–
rain sobs off the gutter, shrieks down city drains.
She doesn’t trust you anymore, and you didn’t come
back last night to feed your dog who cried alone in
the darkness of your home, but still he wagged his tail
in the presence of your uncertain return.
(originally published in Columbia Journal Online, Winter 2018)
Quantum physics have never been
more real than in this steaming
silver pot of Annie’s shells
and cheddar butter and milk
I’m cooking and the cat in our house
attacks crumpled-up balls
of paper yet sprints in fear
when a toilet is flushed. We are
all in orbit. You and me and
Earth and spoon in pot
mixing components into
tornado and I don’t know
where the melting butter
ends up nor the cheese
or where I’ll be in ten
years or a thousand
because our atoms
can diverge into
two paths any given
THE FIRST PATH
the one where you and I and most our friends and family are still alive
because ten years is a long time someone both of us love has died
it’s my father I see dandelions on the dead a suit and tie something
he never would have worn & your mother her silky dress and
Avon perfume wafting through the wake the frost her
permanent winter bed
THE SECOND PATH
the one where you and I and all our friends and family are still alive
because ten years is a long time someone both of us love will die
I see a bowl of ashes I see dead dandelions wilting on the stove
the steam carries souls up into my nose where I recall the heat
and depth of the Grand Canyon sun pressing against my
neck Dad in his thick glasses & sweat arms around me &
I pick up a stone & throw it over the edge
(originally published in The Courtship of Winds, 2019)
Ancient gods rain fire into
winter’s mythological mitt.
Inhabitants escape from the
tampered breaches to become
apprentices of harmony and
tell of wondrous kings–
the bestiary a cephalopod
might preach. Tell me
less of spirit, more of
body. Tell me hunger.
Tell me deserts, dry
(originally published in Amethyst, Winter 2018)
Newton knew the force of a desire
determined the severity of impact.
If you want an apple, the thought will travel
far to haunt you. Calculus was invented
to make sense of your absence. Such
is the memory of July: Beach House
in dim lighting, your bed beside the stairwell.
One could almost roll over and…
walking up those stairs the first time,
you were not there, but searching for your
cat outside, later found hiding in the ravine.
You wouldn’t let me stay, not yet.
I would carry silence into
waning days of weeks then feast
on all the words you spoon-fed me.
I failed to boomerang magic into our
silent field, unlike our first date: cheap
chicken on the patio of World of Beers,
talking what it would take to unlock
our true selves. You called Colin
to buy molly, though I’d never
rolled. Like everything else,
that plan flaked and you never
thought of me again.
(originally published in Man in the Street Magazine, Winter 2018)
When a system is given
an initial input of velocity,
it will vibrate freely
upon release. The ground
will undergo occasional
displacement. In running,
we invite earthquakes
with periodic force. In leaving,
the engine drives
with rising speeds.
In real systems, energy
dissipates. The system damps,
often unnoticeably. When friction
ends, the memories displace,
and your face becomes
a jumbled mess of cables,
of mouths in wired eyes
so tangled by the heart.
(originally published in The Magnolia Review, Fall 2017)
You can recover anything. If you can’t,
you will. What you seek exists
but has left for the black hole of knowledge
steady at the center of the galaxy.
You will become a different person,
renovate the house but keep the windows.
You will find a new lover but process
bits of data still there– the comparisons
and air hurtle toward end-time, the end
line unquantifiable by any metrics of the heart,
of time complete and incomplete starts.
There is a long black hair lodged in your beard
from a lover though the body has moved on.
You forget the names of things you know
but know what they are, how you can have mind
without soul but no soul without mind.
You can live a new life
without losing the old.
(originally published in the hour after happy hour, Fall 2017; also published in The Cadaverine Magazine)
If you drive a car whose
combustion confuses fuel
for air, the engine will quiver
along smooth concrete.
At certain speeds, a clanking
rotor is similar
to the natural cadence
of heartbeats in embrace:
amplitude becomes a deafening
in the stillness of night.
Let a rotating machine of mass
be mounted on a stiff spring
to fix support. The pieces
must move vertically in
a single degree of freedom
even if the rotor is unbalanced,
its hypnotic center missing
one valve’s intake,
forgetting the other’s exhaust.
(originally published in Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts, Summer 2017)