Almost swerved to Akron
to delay our southbound silence
before another car skidded into steel.
We smoked exhaust
with sedans which scrunched
around us. Wiper squeals
revealed hymnal landscapes
through murky glass.
I revel in footprints buried by snow
yet do not know what–
if our black tires composed
cadenzas in the slickening slush,
ambulance’s red, beating
bongos thumping toward us
–what we could have said
that would have ever been enough.
(originally published in The Slag Review, Winter 2017)
I need to break the association
this first day over forty in January
sun wicking everything orange
and melting snow which had mountained
around Columbus this past year’s been
climbing an unending goal since I gave up
drinking through a Lent that lasts forever
I stopped believing in God early on
and instead chose to believe in sacrifice
first my health now my vice the nights
when I lose myself in another religion
in rapid ascent up blackout mountain
waiting for the harness to snap
(originally published in Edison Literary Review, 2018)
The trees are dead, she said.
Peering outside, it was true:
A still-barren sixty degrees, sun
meekly reveling in its new warm.
A week ago, our mother cut down the tree
we picked apples from as children.
They were small, red, never delicious–
brown and burrowed with worms
because anything sweet from the skin
isn’t as sweet as you might think.
All those colorful lights we tied around
the necks of plastic and decoration,
the way we choked the holiday,
wrung out the last ounces of life
from the animal ornaments on every pine.
The walrus with the broken tusk.
The hyena whose laugh can nearly
be heard. As if anthropomorphizing could
ever atone for the past but I would love
to believe in a world where a fragment of
a tusk means something is truly missing–
perhaps rickety laughter ringing through
thin walls, dominant as the wooden organ
moans his mantra: everything in this world
is connected. Not every connected thing
is aware of its living, its connection.
But the way fingers dance deep
resonance out of the organ’s shifty teeth
to provide holiness for the changed house
is the gift we must open for ourselves
with our hands full of music– a sourness
in harmony, an ode to shriveled apples.
(originally published in Flatbush Review, Winter 2016)
in a snowstorm
next to you
on my mind
(originally published in
S/WORD – Issue #5)
wind like a taiko
along the crown of palm
I shiver with the window
(originally published in Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Issue #14)