When You Visit Columbus

on your way from Los Angeles
to New York, I’ll tell you
there’s nothing to do here but drink

can you see our friendship
gripping skeleton bottles?

before we stumbled into every hazy bubble
of unfilled expectations

we called L.A. city by its name

then other cities called our names
like somewhere in this world
wanted us

 

(originally published in Red Fez, Spring 2017)

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To Sara (From Kingsford)

I scratch at doors because I hear a creature
moving in some box I have yet to lick.
Cardboard has the faint taste of forest, of hungry
bark. I have never ventured deep but the deep
knows my name, and when alone its voice
is sometimes distant but so heavy, I claw
the door’s painted wood until the woodlands stop
speaking, or someone lets me free. I explore dark
spaces and in this home I look for monsters
to flee– I run from shadows, sprinting through
the wilds of rooms wanting a chase to give
my motion meaning. Don’t get me wrong.
I’m grateful; I’m safe; I’m running from myself:
I’ve loved like vacancies in the clothes hanging
in closets. And loved like in your arms, eyes closed,
no more dark but in searching for the predator
to emerge in you– but on your bed, in this room,
in this home– there is only breathing and calm
I can’t sense in that outside world of creaking
and footsteps, of clouds rolling into thunder,
of multitudes of other things
I trust far less than you.

 

(originally published in York Literary Review, Spring 2017)

Artificial Bone

You love me like the artificial
bone loves the dog, leather
smack and toothmark.

I bark at the aqua wall, whimper
when thrown to the Venetian. I fleck
paint, dig nails into sheetrock.

My saliva carpets this floor, all tongue
and hunger, lapping water like
it’s the only thing keeping me alive.

 

(originally published in Page & Spine)

The Suburban Wild

In darkness we find a train:
engine active, body inert.
We walk the adjacent rail’s
delineated steel, waiting for a sign.
A spotlight from the city’s purple heart
shoots starward into clear, and the train
barks at something we cannot hear.
We scamper through the brush,
our clothes and hair full of sticks–
strays rising into the cold shadow
of a home, on the hunt
for what will make us whole.

 

(originally published in The Piedmont Journal of Poetry and Fiction, Winter 2017)