After the Stroke

mom’s hair grew thick
with words she couldn’t say
occupying folded spaces
on the dark fabrics of her skin
and though she continued
eating heavily the fruits of life
the mirror told her stop

 

(originally published in Steam Ticket, Spring 2017)

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Small Fires

My throat charred as I said it– you
across that barbed-wire table in sunshine
blinding me with reflected sun with your
sunglasses. I knew we were made of darkness
because the tears would not come. I do not need
to get over you, only to jump missing-you hurdles
but I quit track after a week of running in high school
with cramped legs, sunburn, shortness of breath.
I practiced breathing into trombones and trumpets
trying to make meaning without knowing the
names of anyone I loved or would love but
music burns and the orchestra still bleats
full sound into my ears while my lungs
blacken from cigarettes, and all I can do
is watch smoke from my mouth rise
into blue, become the new cloud
I loved too much, too soon.

 

(originally published in Writing Knights Grand Tournament V Anthology, Summer 2016)

Sleeping Alone

I spend most nights in the company of shadow,
a universe to toss and turn, mind wandering
in the smell of strawberry shampoo– my sheets,
familiar honey. I sleep in a crater growing deeper
without you. At night, birds are mostly silent.
The occasional siren punctuates air and I hope
you are all right, wherever you are. Without
your orbit, I wake at six and the room burns
me dry. There must be a medical reason for this:
the heart, when under sheets, overheats
but when alone becomes so cold, to sleep
too long is dangerous, and the temperature
drops to near the threshold of memory– my hair
mussed in darkness by my pillow’s imitation
of what your hands might do
if they were here, wanting to be held again.

 

(originally published in Freshwater Literary Journal, Spring 2017)

To Davin (From Laurence)

to leave water would mean I suffocate
so I wait for orange pellets to fall almost
like rain you and I are alone most
of the time pooled in a little world
aimless from place to place
in a bowl peering through glass
to see what moves around us
swimming feels like drowning
when you come to me and I press
my face to glass trying hard to break
it to come meet you
when I flap my fins it means I am starving
not for food but to end these
lonely days punctuated by when
you surface through the waters of that
more colorful other universe like magic
my sky becomes kaleidoscopic orange
and I nearly believe I belong

 

(originally published in Perspectives Magazine, Spring 2017)

Resurrection

in dark crowds I look for your shadow
along the perimeter of park grass wet

my beer churns from belly-up to forget
seeing you again but for now loud thumps

and guitar squeals glow from every beacon
the way one holds to hope just long enough

to make it religious communion in every
plastic cup bought from jazz-blue tokens

I wait for resurrection every turn of head
with you wandering some sidewalk

I walked earlier how you materialize just
the body returning to remind me I cannot

wait any longer to be rid of wanting to walk
in circles until I cannot know any better

if you were ever even real at all

 

(originally published in Chantwood Magazine, Spring 2017)

After Palm Springs

We spent the entirety
of our days together.

Now, the vacation from myself
is over.

There is a void beside me
unexplainable in the absence
of presence.

No one here will keep me
whole. Digging into darkness,
film, facebook, what’s real, what’s imagined,
why does it matter?

I want to caress your stomach in the sun
and know everything is okay.

 

(originally published in #thesideshow, Spring 2017)