This Sky / This Room

We built a blanket fort
with tattered sheets
to hang from tacks
when Ohio clouds
obscured our view
of the meteor shower
we planned for
that August night.
You were to move
to Florida soon,
bask in sunshine
and clear skies.
Thus we adorned
my Da Vinci-blue
ceiling with glow-
in-the-dark stars
we promised to make
real if you stayed.
We wanted the
burning gravities
of our galaxies,
went to push-pin lengths
to achieve this.
We stabbed fabric
into walls until
gazing through thin
thread up a little
dimmer now.
You stayed– now
we find the glow
we planted
in the stars.

 

(originally published by Twelve Point Collective, Spring 2017)

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School Bus in the Blizzard (Supper Waits)

The chicken soup swirls with the ladle.
Garlic and pepper steam the kitchen.

Limp horseradish soaks
at the pot’s silver bottom.

White meat swims laps in the yellow broth.
Animals do fine without bones.

The clock strikes a new hour.
The oven timer goes off

(or does it). Outside,
snow blinds the world.

Shovels conceal pavement.
There is no good way home.

 

(originally published in Freshwater Literary Journal, Spring 2017)

Fast Love

we ran headfirst into love
bricks stone cement
& blood
no glass in that window heart
the rhino’s horn
sharp and rare
I write about what’s not there
headlights foglights
I write to explain this love
this fast love
this rabbit-run hole deep dug
& shovels & shoulders
& salty skin drowned in tongue
somewhere over this hill is a burial plot
with our names on it
x marks our naked bodies
drunk on desire
& gin & no one
knows where our mouths have been
so restore the reservoirs
reserve a seat for me at the theater
let’s sit in darkness
watch the actors eat rare steak
& show love without talking about it
o how to enjoy your teeth sunk in blood
o how to finish what you started

 

(originally published in Jenny, Spring 2017)

Symbolism for a Millennial Breakup

I cracked my phone screen
on my first date without you.

I carried it in my back pocket, like always,
though maybe I postured myself differently,

finally sitting up straight enough
to carry my own weight.

I didn’t look at my phone
until after the date. By then,

I could no longer remember you
without the shattered glass–

the flawless screen was not made
from our blazing beach days

of black seaweed and slithering kites
that begged the wind to let go,

where footsteps parted sand
to lead the tide into ourselves,

to let the moon drag our bodies
into the ocean’s boundless mirrors

where, enveloped in reflections,
we could only gasp for air.

 

(originally published in Metonym, Fall 2017)

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)