do you mean something else
because right now I am committed
to the rare magic of water its myriad
forms fresh salt rain ice
but don’t you go change too
much on me I feel so small
in the emptiness following days
without you being in the pull
of your invisible gravity what
a dance to be so meaningless
years away from all other heat and
made of fragile things carbon dust
yet when I fart and sneeze through
the night I still have my body
and you intact in morning light
(originally published in former People, Winter 2020)
What simulation’s numb you ask
if I want children this time
definitive we boil Kraft mac
and cheese. I toss our meager sweet
potatoes in oil and ramble about financial
self-worth the oven nearly at four hundred
degrees. I can’t stop petting your shoulder
the ashy cat roams in the loam of our love
our newly swept hardwood the house
our home for now so limited already
steam from the inside a pressure
cooker of different timelines. What river
these converging lives to seek meaning
in the biological job postings some of us
are born to call. My dad was sixty-one
when I was born my grandfather clock
ticks nonexistent. We have gorged in all
our broken cabinets to rustle the blue
plastic grocery bag pile. I can’t stand
to live another day preoccupied.
(originally published in Flights, Summer 2021)
It began to rain, it rains, the
drainage of the city trembles.
A moth dances in the wind
through Carl Sagan’s window.
When we live, we apologize
for the love. Rain falls, rain
drains, and water is the body
where we lose trust.
the house at night.
In the sun there is dust–
the moth follows love there.
We apologize to moths.
Rain is the body; trust
does not return. Shadows
eat the moths at night.
(originally published in Terror House Magazine, Summer 2019)
Don’t worry, I’ve seen Signs.
I know we’re not vulnerable
the way those on-screen aliens are,
deathly allergic to water. We’re made of
the stuff yet haven’t learned to fear it.
Avoid city taps. Toxic, they say.
I’m drinking tons of it, unless you mean ego,
in which there’s a bucket devoid of myself
the dark sky so badly wants to donate to.
In the way you believe, we are not aliens,
unless you mean we don’t know ourselves.
Every day, my mouth dries up
avoiding strangers. M. Night Shyamalan
dons an aluminum hat upon spotting me.
I’d do the same– leave the store looking
down at my feet, toggle up the heat
in my Ford in heavy winter clothes
to sweat my chemical reaction out.
(originally published in COG Magazine, Spring 2019)
I steep myself deeper
into the capitalist game
the rubber hoodoos
of the rack
complicity is my zippered mouth
and I walk with papercut
cardboard out through
a parking lot of gnats
I open heavy squealing doors
to place waste in a dumpster
floating on a non-potable puddle
(originally published in borrowed solace, Winter 2019)
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)
Late in life she lived as a lagoon’s only human
among monsters she half-recognized. To visit
was a kind of drowning– submerged in nursing
home fluorescents of nursing half-breathing,
I asked Mom who am I talking to?
Her eyes asked the same.
I guess all of us,
none of us glad
we came, we had to,
wanted to, really,
despite grandma’s face
there knowing her
soon to swim the
wispy ocean of
afterlife– that, at
least, we wanted
to believe, to see her
again the way she
would want to be seen,
not now like this
(originally published in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Fall 2018)
did you see me?
(originally published in Canyon Voices Literary Magazine, Spring 2018)
through speakers 70s music bass
guitar heartbeat pulsating through
a weatherman chants forecasts out
of sync a microwave beeps the shrill
coffee machines trembling cash
register slamming baritone voice
barista says he has bad hearing you
said something before sandwich fan
spins no rhythm stringed spurt richochet
solos quiet everyone reading books
tablets not responding to chaos burnt
bagel wafting sorry sorry the window
rain begins drum drum drum drum
one two three four the faucet spits
on everyone walks in don’t you
want somebody to love?
(originally published in IthacaLit, Spring 2018)
As I run hot faucet water
over the head of my electric toothbrush,
Jennifer asks isn’t it better
when we brush our teeth together?
This, of course, is redundant.
I have cleaned the spit
and foam from my brush alone
through the years,
watched clean water slowly spiral
down a clog.
I have taken better care
Flossed the plaque
tartar of bad habits,
in and out of you.
These I can withstand.
Thus I answer at all.