I don’t remember the phrase, spray-painted
on a house in Wilkinsburg, that caught you
on the way to work some May or June day–
it couldn’t have been Miracles do happen–
too cliché. It was some unexpected inverse.
I remember you mentioned you liked to think
there was a man named Miracle in there
(this must be a clue) – the details elude
me. Reflecting, it seems miraculous to have
survived this haze of spring turned summer,
fall– memory’s the rain hovering over our fake
Centennial Park. I kept throwing sacks of dust
into the spot on the cornhole board that would
end the game, but as the game kept going,
the show kept steering to the opposite end of reality.
In my mind, this house–
wooden panels splinting, gray paint chipping–
was surrounded by overgrown grass
becoming harder and harder to see past.
You cut the grass, the grass grows faster!
This show was like that. Have you seen
the viral video of the tree just struck
by lightning? The inside’s raging red,
an orange flame self-contained, but
I like to think that tree was in Miracle’s
lawn, and he was zen in tending
to the heat and ever-growing grass.
But all the forces were conspiring–
twice the office toilet wouldn’t stop
running beyond reasonable control.
The first time was the first week, when
it flooded the floor and drowned
the executive offices. You sent me
to Busy Beaver to buy a monkey
wrench, but no matter how we turned,
the water seeped past carpet.
The second time was at the end. We had
all lived hell, survived it. The water was
relentless, but this time, when you went
in, there was a crowd outside the bathroom
door asking if it was over– the flood, the
show. This time, it was different. You fixed it.
(originally published in Home Planet News Online, Fall 2020)
Stress-eating sour worms
while working from home.
A dumb numbness. Live
a weekend for a little
joy. A stressed syll-
able. A stretched neon
bleeding the pumps
from my heart, my long
and yellow heart, crusted
from swallowing earth’s
bitter notes back. I used
to take outside for granted.
(originally published in The Writing Disorder, Spring 2021)
I am a clicking sound in the tongue of the restaurant–
how would you like to be served how may I serve you
the bones are getting cold in this chicken breast this cutlet
of space I said I’d do anything for cash and it’s true there is
no limit to greed that’s the whole idea space expands
and my atoms stay quantum and still, relatively.
(originally published in Erothanatos, Spring 2020)
Bananas everywhere make me hungry.
The doormat, the neon sign, the sticker
on your Apple– I can’t help it. My
cuteness doesn’t preclude that I am part
wolf. A ruthless hunter. When I run
across the rug to your room I want you
to throw fruit on the floor just to bite off
the peels. I’ve had my eyes on inedible Ethel
the Christmas Chicken when I learned she’s
still a chicken. For once I want a sandwich.
Put me in your cart with a potato gun
at Sam’s and we’ll hold that whole
place up. As you ransack the banana stand,
I’ll loot the deli and meet you in the middle.
(originally published in Jokes Review, Summer 2020)
When my father retired, he could not end
the work– sunrise blurred to sunset
sculpting trees within the canvas of our yard.
Soon, he said, you will wear my work
on your hands. But after he passed, my hands
would tremble leaning ladder onto tree,
snipping branches off the living
(originally published in U-Rights Magazine, Fall 2020)
I see the opening
when placing down
one wrong move
and I’m living in my car again.
Cheaper rent. The simpler things–
were romantic once
but my mouth is full of blood, teeth
my stomach yellow-splotched
(but not from sun).
The rocks in my shoes,
holes in my
ripped nets my lovers fall
(rely on me?
I grind my teeth in sleep).
How summery it was to think I could
make the next job work, mountains
of manila folders
perpetually stacking, tumbling–
the dim light’s exit blocked
(originally published in Stickman Review, Fall 2020)
and I am on fire too ready
to burn Panera down
no one really wants this hospital
food its chemicals inside
that make it breathe the bread
is moving if you watch
close enough its heartbeat
in your mouth we are all on
fire this former dead living
animal a baguette string inside
my intestines there are wings
in my salad flapping dead cells
floating and all I can do is be
the sun and burn the whole world
then flush my throat with water
(originally published in Madness Muse Press, Fall 2020)
Without destination, I am powerless
behind a Civic’s bumper. The cars on 315–
straight shot viewable from my window–
travel without obstruction. In the Prius
beside me is a couple wrapped around
each other during meaningless red light.
The world is ending in these fumes and
still, I have been staring at this Wendy’s
sign, fantasizing about my lips on
a burger square, biting into processed
buns, cramming my mouth with fingers of
fries, then watching the sky turn jaundice.
(originally published in Corvus Review, Winter 2022)
I play too much
in this ruin. Wing-
dings over profits,
always, despite ancient
language bleating over
the human market.
For what it is worth,
self-worth is not defined
by worth. The milk
is not transferable
to white. When
be sure to include
my name in the credits.
(originally published in Eunoia Review, Fall 2021)
is this how you spend your days? laundry
filthy as furniture.
the room cold between two
worlds. I am awash in
transition: upbringing /
give me a place to call home
I am stuck in the wedge
but your long arms around
the circumference of
my body. here is
the ticking clock
allowing sea change
along the equator
east of my brain sees desire in
a sleeping blanket. I am trying
to wrap my mind around
of the life it
(originally published in Bindweed Magazine, Winter 2020)