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)
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)
(originally published in Gambling the Aisle, Summer 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)
I cracked my phone screen
on my first date without you.
I carried it in my back pocket, like always,
though maybe I postured myself differently,
finally sitting up straight enough
to carry my own weight.
I didn’t look at my phone
until after the date. By then,
I could no longer remember you
without the shattered glass–
the flawless screen was not made
from our blazing beach days
of black seaweed and slithering kites
that begged the wind to let go,
where footsteps parted sand
to lead the tide into ourselves,
to let the moon drag our bodies
into the ocean’s boundless mirrors
where, enveloped in reflections,
we could only gasp for air.
(originally published in Metonym, Fall 2017)
(originally published Spring 2017 in Belletrist, with a reprint in Wizards in Space)
You learn your plane
has been delayed
You remind yourself it has nothing to do
with you. The cause must be
something mechanical– a loose cap or
calibration error. The crew
does not have to say it’s not you,
it’s us because by now you know
the sigh of steel wings, how planes take
a while to ascend anyway.
How insignificant– this delay
stretches hours and a kind
voice speaks through white
noise on the loudspeaker like
she wants to say there is something
we can do to make a difference.
The plane will have the sky when
it is ready. Until then,
do not say it is broken.
(originally published in Little Patuxent Review, Winter 2016)