Staying at Ben’s Apartment

was sad. The bathroom garbage bin
was empty except for a milky bag,
a milky bag. I spent a few days
staring at walls that lacked art, clocks,
plaques– wayward whites. I searched
the swinging ceiling fan for meaning,
its light hanging even as the nightmares
swirled and buoyed my sleep. On that
first midnight, I received an email
from Ema to confirm our petals had withered.
Desiccate yet still green somehow I slept
and slept and slept not anxious for the sun’s
return or its return to me, not that it did
for a while. I looked for this midnight whisper
days later to question again our phantoms,
sprinting through Gmail plains of text, but no,
this was a phantom, too. I whispered e-m-a with
my fingers into the search thus yielded darlings,
xoxo starlings and chains that floated from the
screen’s waterfall out into eternity, tethered
to the runoff running to that unknown place
where even phantoms go to die.

 

(originally published in Memoryhouse Magazine, spring 2016)

Like a Box of Chocolates

Did you know what you were going to get, strolling
through the supermarket handpicking chocolates,

deciding between pecan bon bons, truffles,
and white chocolate shells filled with fudge?

We did not yet know the salt of incandescence,
your caramel smile on the roof of my mouth,

blind with each other’s taste, the lavender
some sickly rose blooming.

We melted together in the sun not worrying
about how our distinct tastes would smelt and swirl

around in our greedy mouths how our tongues flicked
and explored until we were almost satisfied but

every good thing melts the way autumn crumples
at the peak of its most swirling sweetness.

 

(originally published in bluepepper, 2016)

The Dust

Often I find myself wanting to move
from the dust like a lost, small dog,
fur a summertime shackle.

Those dark winter days
we were our own light.
Lapped the water in from a trough.
We didn’t have to dip (not deeply)
and we’d share our sips freely.

Then Valentine’s Day
came and went.
Meanwhile we sat alone
at our computers,
waiting to press send.

 

(originally published in The Legendary)

The Undo Feature in Gmail

Sometimes I say what I don’t mean.

There is an algorithm which can make me forget;
the others remind me to remember.

Your action has been undone. As if my actions
needed a separate undoing– I did not expect you,

with your raven hair, to perch our thousand
miles, thousand days to bottle time

and cast to sea, a folded note to be read
by a stranger at shore. Here, I am a knot

bound to be undone, tethered to a battered shoe,
and in the sprint, wind coarsens your hair.

In the cold we move closer and closer until the breathing
is stale and fogs my car’s windows, the outside world

turned gray. Confusing a fluorescent lightbulb for the moon,
I would risk one more rejection to bring you even nearer,

past the point of no return.

 

(Originally published in Corium Magazine, Spring 2016)

Morning

We reach for jagged rocks, the twist
and slide of fingers: morning rose in silk.
The cold sheets cling to warmth and
disassociate– that’s when the open window
invites the low static of engines, white
noise of chirps. Our eyes thrush
and perch, cradle into shared twigs,
into thorns, and gently lift. We whittle
our words into stems too thin
to hold, the wind unafraid to take.

 

(originally published in Thirteen Myna Birds, September 2016)

Orchard

in the orchard, a mother drinks rosé, bites
into a granny smith. the other apples
are rotten now, well– autumn
peels history off barks. the trees become
malnourished skeletons, tiny skulls. forget.
over and over. bees gather nectar
and you almost forget to laugh. they pluck
the fruit. too young to remember, too
momentous. one time he played too close
to the hive– well, life isn’t honey, she said,
even if you are mine. finding a diamond
in a diamond mine. hey, that’s still special.
who’s to say if it’s worth anything. all her
jewelry. diamond in her open palm. show
me. oh, how it glistened– no one asks
anymore. she does not want anyone to.

 

(originally published in Botticelli Magazine, Spring 2016)

Excessive Drinking

I am a sun-drenched willow field withered and
purple. Headache remiss, wonder when the liver
will churn its nightly clarion call, squeezing rags
to drag the water out.

Sometimes the nights are like that in the silence
between friends. The drafts replace talking.
You can’t hear the words with breath so still
and distant, willows soon awakening.

 

(originally published in Transcendence Magazine, Summer 2016)

Two Guys, Two Gallons of Yuengling, Two Plastic Jugs

Tongues composed of lager and slathered words drip
turbulence from the roadmaps of mouths, the ocean’s
rock and regurgitation. We meandered along brick-paved
roads with half-amber jugs in our hands, how quickly
we drown but how slowly we swayed on swings
in the frigid, desolate playground at night by the highway,
eyes entranced by the spotlight from the city’s hidden heart
we desire but never find but in the beer’s flat hops like a pair
of clumsy trombonists, asynchronous staccatos and B-flat
scales bottling air from silver mouthpiece to S.O.S–

 

(originally published in Cacti Fur, Summer 2016)

Two-Year Lovesong

and the tide comes and goes like my foot in and out of the water lowering the gate to oblivion i hold your hand in highest regard in the pantheon we were regal all the modern day utensils utilized today a kind of balled rain if you can hold it without it dissipating you are the master of the clouds a red ladder leading to the top of mount everest where one will never rest among the cozy mattresses i almost assign an acadian victory holding loose the lips of passion and allowing everyone roam free

and the castle moat which floats in some space between imagination and fantasy holds to the gabardine moon just a flick of the lighter away on some space runway eternal light rushing some unmatchable beauty is found in the absence of all other light some unimaginable thing the first time you experience sunshine after birth your first kiss at a high school dance the music swaying both of you two mouths pressed against each other full of the moon like some wakeful sleep how it is as memory

(initially published in an alternate form in The Open Mouse)