Tiger Balm

Nice to pretend
there’s a thing all-healing.
It’s early spring and we both
ache– my mouth, your stomach.
Searching for remedy we lay
leglocked in bed to distract
ourselves with affection
but smell of Tiger Balm.
You like its touch, I like
the texture– the initial
dipping into hope that
maybe we’ll find relief
in the burn it leaves
in the air, or in my hand
on your stomach,
then in your hand.

 

(Originally published in Poetry Super Highway, Summer 2017)

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Transient

I need new faces
clothes drawers
opening
closing

I used to find
spacious greens
county lines
my hometown

I wandered
through the smells
of mom’s scrambled eggs

faucet running
disposal clogged
with garlic

understand
I want to be
a bullet train
memory

I’ll tell my future grandkids
stop moving
opposite
of me

 

(originally published in Neologism Poetry Journal, Summer 2017)

*Pushcart Prize Nomination

In Time

you wait for me
I imagine glass
the bent harp
wilted notes I hold

by your neck
your sheet music
part of me
you flow through

my words are not
chasms I am bottomless
a pit you didn’t get
to know

though once we stayed out
got matching pigeon tattoos
that’s something no one
no two else do

keep your feathers near
wing the ink trace
the path to fly to
I’m this close this close this close

 

(originally published in Street Light Press, Summer 2017)

A Prescription for Yourself

pills are your piggy bank & I know
you’re working on saving yourself
bit by bit every day, plastic bags
full of highs and highers but you
were hired at a Rooster’s you say
is good for your soul– congrats–
I’m at the Walgreen’s on campus
asking questions about your sugar-
coated drops of yesterday held
ransom by the holy words of
prescription papers circled with x’s
and your ex never saw it coming–
the resurrection of a person like
a monument erecting from sweat
and necessity then once you start
changing you don’t stop

 

(originally published in Slamchop Journal, Summer 2017)