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)
Quantum physics have never been
more real than in this steaming
silver pot of Annie’s shells
and cheddar butter and milk
I’m cooking and the cat in our house
attacks crumpled-up balls
of paper yet sprints in fear
when a toilet is flushed. We are
all in orbit. You and me and
Earth and spoon in pot
mixing components into
tornado and I don’t know
where the melting butter
ends up nor the cheese
or where I’ll be in ten
years or a thousand
because our atoms
can diverge into
two paths any given
THE FIRST PATH
the one where you and I and most our friends and family are still alive
because ten years is a long time someone both of us love has died
it’s my father I see dandelions on the dead a suit and tie something
he never would have worn & your mother her silky dress and
Avon perfume wafting through the wake the frost her
permanent winter bed
THE SECOND PATH
the one where you and I and all our friends and family are still alive
because ten years is a long time someone both of us love will die
I see a bowl of ashes I see dead dandelions wilting on the stove
the steam carries souls up into my nose where I recall the heat
and depth of the Grand Canyon sun pressing against my
neck Dad in his thick glasses & sweat arms around me &
I pick up a stone & throw it over the edge
(originally published in The Courtship of Winds, 2019)
Dad knew which fuse box switch did what–
in this way, he chose for us the light and dark.
His hands blackened from cracking walnuts
over the years, hammering husks in the
night when the rest of us were sleeping,
loud whacks startling us temporarily awake then
drifting back into our own darknesses beneath familiar
stars. After his death, we found Dad’s walnuts
in barrels in the corner of his workshop alongside
spiders and memories we could not yet scrape.
My brother said, to honor him, we had to break
and eat each one, despite the bulk. That Dad lived
a rich life poor, that the taste might activate
memory’s accordion, careening us in and out
the past and present, turning life to death then life
again, discordant in its forlorn loudness.
(originally published in 3Elements Review, Spring 2018)
look in the mirror
that’s the ghost of you
a fraction of a second ago
I look into my lover’s eyes
and she seems alive though
I know we’re wilting
together when we hold
hands the action is
a time traveler
our atoms providing
the illusion of touch
but what of the heart
does the beating keep
us breathing or the
faith that we might be
my head rests
on your chest
echoes of eternity
I am both part of
(originally published in Hamline Lit Link, 2018)
Some birds zigzag
below shrapnel clouds
and others, perched
on limbs, chatter
in this chill
because the leaves
in your yard
are a different shade
than your neighbor’s,
but each tree
casts its own
ballot into earth
for the season
all the dead
beneath your boots
along the way
to the church
with the cookies
you pass big,
with American flags
on porch steps
and city workers
who have been
fixing power lines,
for so many months,
and so many months
(originally published in The Rising Phoenix Review, Fall 2017)
The chairs we sit in are steel
horses, sad and dead. What you said
at the gallery in the warehouse was
to you, I have only given death and cookies.
Or corpses confused with candy.
Your cheeks puff, withdraw.
You’re silver in ceramic.
If I were a romantic I’d say
you belong in the painting.
Longing, always. But I am
a romantic. When we strolled
the botanical gardens we found longing
in the plants deemed poisonous.
How close I get to each sweet thing.
How close each is to death.
(originally published in Pif Magazine, Winter 2018)
I add more
I add more
(originally published in Misty Mountain Review, 2017)
Fill the cracks so the ants can’t infest.
This is the poison applied for feeding:
urine-yellow icky glue sealing lips
to take home to another body. Sometimes
words stick where I open my mouth–
the crevice between us not letting you in.
I, too, have brought small gifts back
underground thinking them an olive
branch. Each attempt kills one way
or another. Malignant misinterpretations.
I return with this pellet of words.
This killing I never meant to witness.
(originally published in Abstract Magazine, Fall 2017)
Gates clot with distance: other thickened loves not directly related
to active devices are increasingly important for post-fabricated
hearts to facilitate not only process control, circuits, electric life,
but also accuracy of simulations critically dependent on parasites–
your fundamental process parameter.
A thinner gate enables smaller, faster transistors to critically affect
hearts: techniques were developed to provide accurate values.
X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy: you materialize as light
witches on. Auger electron spectroscopy: hold the sun in its light.
Secondary ion mass spectrometry. Transmission electron microscopy.
And the meaning lost in poetry.
And you I lose in visible light.
(originally published in The Icarus Anthology, Summer 2017)
my mother logs in
watches lives unfold and bend
others offer words of glass
like there used to be something there
something that refreshed and renewed
(originally published in The Stray Branch, Spring 2018)