Can’t even sustain myself with the hours
I work to make myself; a waterfall of dollars
and dreams splashing off wet stone. I hold no
heart hostage but my own; the heart holds me
hostage through beating, my breathing
a slow decay. In aging I prove nothing
to the universe except that I exist;
through the office, I prove I do not.
Despite the hours, the blood and bone
monuments I erect, then forget–
the steady draining of days worth
not enough to get me by.
(originally published in Sheila-Na-Gig Online, Spring 2018)
I’ll enter our bedroom to open
my laptop where I reserve
a French five-star dinner and
yes we have kids in this dream
the universe theirs to explore
so they start by clanging pots
and pans in the sine band of
our kitchen underbelly worlds
smaller than the space we used
to enclose the first time beneath
the orange blanket hot chocolate
wafting from the kitchen slunk
into pillowcases and snug before
the sun steams yolk in the black
pan gathers its yellow around
the edges waiting patiently to
(originally published in The Wire’s Dream, 2018)
Tulip tree in Alaska. Cold
and wild. Rembrandt blue
Christmas lights, shepherd
pie a warmth of familiar metal
stovetop. Doorstep. Gold
beneath nothing but rusted shovel
mnemonic arms repping
dumbbells. Must be strong
in clumps of conviction. The south
says the creator God’s a yes.
Freeform jazz. Bubbled
champagne. Festivals devoted
to home. Houston before me,
Texas a pink tie knotted.
(originally published in bluepepper, Winter 2018)
Relics melt– ardent wisps millions
may they drip. Desert echoes– voices
through throats, landscapes for wing-
spans, sand blown past the horizon.
(originally published in Reality Hands, Winter 2018)
Don’t peep the flag, its withered stars &
snakelike stripes a windsail blown to hell–
cleats in fake grass, the dead broil of fall.
(originally published in Cabildo Quarterly, Winter 2018)
Every day my girlfriend asks
if I can swim. I ask
do I smell like onions?
She says yes
you smell like you.
I want to be the garden.
She says she wants
to eat me, to push me
overboard. No, I say
and she laughs.
I tell her my new recipe,
dill and onion mac and cheese.
After eating, she says
it tastes like everything else
The garbage disposal
won’t work again.
Our mouths full
of makeshift we have
no place to
(originally published in Triggerfish Critical Review, Summer 2018)
I have been trying to cough up the bald eagle
lodged in my heart, but only feathers have landed
wet on this dirt. I love this country, but this is too white
for me to say. Too long have I been silent in privilege
while our nation’s darkest forces– white-winged
and fire-breathing– cast their manifest, the harming
kind of loudness. There is no one in my life who
admits agreement with white supremacy, but I also
know there must be– and if silence is complicity,
I must be no longer. So I cough out the beak, the flag,
the gun whose silent bullets I have already fired.
I am so sorry for the silence–
everyone I haven’t known I have hurt.
(originally published in Rise Up Review, Winter 2018)
On the patio drinking iced coffee
you write a letter to Jane Fonda
telling her you always thought
you’d be an actress– that distant
magical woman with a collection of
workout VHS tapes, one of which you
bought when thrifting. The sun is out. Lawyers
beside us talk about renovations to streets
near campus but from straw to lips– you and I,
our city infrastructure’s solid. We do not
fill our holes with asphalt to build new roads
lined with palm trees and your bagel stays fresh
in morning cool that feels like Palm Springs,
California. I am somewhere old yet unfamiliar:
a vacation in our neighborhood, a beach
house along the shores of the Scioto river,
oldies guitar strumming through air
like a boat guided by breeze–
fond of the present, sailing upstream.
(originally published in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Spring 2018)
It’s the middle of the night
you say as you wake up,
7 A.M. sunlight beaming
through the cat tree.
Neither of us can sleep
these days of cells
turning against you–
I seek soft blanket
when touching you.
Fabric against skin
where soon warmth
(originally published in former People, Winter 2018)
microphone in hand
the gutter of volumetric gain
to finally sing gin (out of the system
sky an ocean of lights)
the star made of you-matter: gold voice hot collision
where bar’s empty souls listening clink glasses
then rise in song to celebrate your living