Enough

today was one of millions
of days I needed to be alone

a cloud of stars outshining
the world on the eve of its end

the dishwasher cycles through
around its own reality again

forget the parables
your knees are cold

here’s an elegy
so many mothers giving

to children we want
to please them

 

(originally published in The Magnolia Review, Summer 2018)

Taboo

the gorge is endless & insatiable
there is a river, then many mouths
& there is your mother
in the next room cooking soup
& there is a mother
on screen bent over stovetop
with stepson rocking back
& forth into hunger
& now spoons clank
on plate before dinner
& your privacy settings–
a closed door
& now your father
home from work
& now the stepfather
makes his daughter behave
& your sister
walks in off the bus
& now the step-sister
removes the mushroom of her skirt
taking her brother by the name
of their familiar
revelation
which is all relative
to the mold of a home
all mildew & dust
spiderweb & tangle
& turn of doorknob
to walk years
through thin hallways
of broken light
fixtures & coughs
to sit in the dining room
all together & eat
years of steaming
garlic, basil, tomato,
salt

 

(originally published in The Cerurove, Fall 2017)

Lance’s Lament

as we gathered to mourn
the puppy struck by a car
outside of the bank,
i was reminded of glue:
how it encrusts fingers; if
it could seep through skin
it would sleep in your lungs
& heart & hasten the path
to the common rest

they couldn’t have fastened
the coffin with glue– too cruel,
they said–

if your hand could even summon
the will to move

a square, red magnet fastens
your snow origami valentines forever
to green construction paper, tiny prayers
bottled

i hope there is another side, even when i open
the door for orange juice, cool breath of air
within, glass, it breathes, infested
with my own fingerprints, tartness
prior to the swallow
& acceptance– for as long as i am,
you are, too

 

(originally published in VAYAVYA, Spring 2016)