A shadow figure outside the Ford’s locked door.
He jiggles the handle
hey can you drive me to Santa Clarita
I said no I have been drinking whiskey
which was a lie
he said let me in
I did not
When I wake for a walk in the middle of the night,
clothes bunched on red benches under streetlights
like someone had been there
I call my ex
I can’t stop thinking about you
shadows float from her eyes
understand: we lived
in the cave of each other
under orange streetlights
blankets hang from headrests
to drape me from the world
(originally published in The Nottingham Review, Fall 2017)
The alley is paved with old bricks
blackened by rain. I used to want
conformity, that tidal hope gripping
your gut. You must have a family soon.
Everywhere babies are sprouting
but garden sprinklers are off because winter
is near, crackled dirt longing for storm–
how long since the rough of gale and rain?
Seasons, in these frigid airs. And my seedling
heart stopped growing soon after its first beat.
(originally published in The Coachella Review, Winter 2017)
was the memory–
booming in bloom
With mist lifting
off Lake Dardanelle,
what it means
to be new–
so young was the fog
the mind’s cleaver sliced.
(originally published in The Quiet Letter, Summer 2017)
I used to find joy in little things.
Like luck on the head
of a penny.
Or a tire chained
to a blue wall
in the subway.
Or two bullets,
Or your glance
on long drives
beside the ocean.
I feel ill. I declare this heaven’s day.
No fool was a folk legend tragedy.
No fool a fish on a hook
reeled from the lake.
Tomorrow my hand leaves
Your name, claws
on the four-drink ignition.
White rose– consider
a wing. Next, a thumb.
Voices, skies so blue…
I’d find your eyes play music.
(originally published in Eunoia Review, Winter 2017)
I’ve written the last
I can about you.
No more spirits in this blue-and-gray
jacket with the familiar coffee stain.
Out of poetry and time to spare.
Like December’s brisk spit of snow.
The lack of wonderment.
(originally published in Corvus Review, Fall 2016)
(originally published in Neologism Poetry Journal, Summer 2017)
Two years ago, we would drink tall beers
hidden in black, plastic bags ’til we passed
from laughter, fluttered to fill
our glasses with more.
There would have been more pages
to turn, but none of us spoke our
human language anymore.
Now, a browned frond slumps
between parked cars.
Two teenagers flirt
underneath a palm. Whispered leaves
are fragile– each movement
a link to the next
until it is not.
Their laughs reverberate
when they, too, part. Uncork
those swan bottles–
let them go, graceful
(Originally published in The City Key, Spring 2016)
I do not perceive you as obsessed with death
even if, days before, our jovial talks of dying
led to sugar-frosted blue wondering at the sky.
We planned to pop champagne for the birth
of feeling alive: winter hardens soil so we must dig
to the laughter we share in our spines.
We did not drink white wine, but the beer was breath
without knowing the scent– like any year,
we were paintings of light and dark, of limb
and bone so disordered to stand is a triumph,
and hope is a kaleidoscope, a conjecture.
Each dying wave returns, even at the frayed edge
of memory, how the dead are lavish with flowers
and stories. Still, we press on to uncork
our champagne future: drafts of breath in each
new year, dead waves haunting the mortal tide
with no specific beginning, no obvious end.
(originally published in Liquid Imagination, Summer 2016)
A river isn’t really blue. The Mississippi
has dried, and even love is transparent.
We adorn ourselves blue so loss
can be quantified in color. Such
is the brittle paintbrush, naked
and grieving, but we are not
the color of grieving,
nor tobacco spat in the dugout
in shame. We remember
the dirt, and who we loved,
long before we searched
clouds’ faces for ghosts,
her grays in the white
within eternal blue.
(originally published in ‘the vacant hinge of a song’, courtesy of Origami Poems Project)