The Stewardess

California leaves in smoke & flame
cigarettes you never touched

the burning
bristle

but your hands
on steel made a home
in airplanes

soaring over the evergreen
we outgrew

you called a bottomless lake
drowning

monsters deep in murk

in the way of work
was love &

understanding this
you left the city
became the sky

 

(originally published in The Inflectionist Review, 2018)

Kimmy Granger

The green blanket over your head–
Kimmy Granger gets fucked
by a fake photographer
on your iPhone in my hand.
Meanwhile, you ride me, moaning–
it’s snowing– December’s waning
autumn days– awaiting a kind of fate
under flicked-off lights
in the gray of afternoon.
Before this, we reminisced about
the early days– laying in bed my hand
in your hair listening to music.
Then late July laying in grass saying
the ways we make each other happy.
Which is why I must rewind this clip
over and over to the part where Kimmy
is smiling and laughing before
the whole thing starts and
I pine for the blanket, your
green thread and lint.

 

(originally published in Ghost City Review, Winter 2018)

Umbrella

In the lips of thunder, we never feel full
as rain slips from our mouths– the brick
streets are slicked with histories we will
not yet slip. Sediment lodged in the curb
will displace in time. Our tongues slicken
in the dry we create so we thirst for the
wet we tried simply to shield from ourselves.

 

(originally published in The 1932 Quarterly, Autumn 2018)

Overlooking the Ravine

you practice the scorpion on your back porch
while your cat wanders about like she has
somewhere to go and we don’t

you stretch the sky darkens and fireflies
illuminate the fence the cat wants to scale
I ask what of your qualities you see in her
you say she’s an affectionate asshole

I drink another of your beers we have
talked for weeks about how I never
seem comfortable anywhere I go with anyone

you don’t think I’m a vine that has found
its wall to climb even cats want walls
they know their limits I’m not sure what mine are
how high or should I even try

then what?

 

(originally published in Roanoke Review, Spring 2018)

Dead Whale

Upon the gum’s shore,
a body beaches–
abscessed tooth of
sand.

How the mouth learns
to chew
diamonds–
the glint
of blood.

Soon, this is ritual.

Don’t confess
your ailing–
let bleed from morning
into next.

The dentist says
don’t drink– so
consume the ocean
of the night
and float
yourself to sea.

 

(originally published in former People, Winter 2018)

The Hours

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)

Fantasy After a Few Good Dates

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
rise

 

(originally published in The Wire’s Dream, 2018)

Complicit

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)

Our Cafe as Morning Vacation

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)