Scenery

My roommate takes me
for a walk, or she takes the dog
for a walk. It doesn’t matter.
It’s the second night

we’ve walked each other,
or the dog walked us,
sore throat, brainy fog,
and this time can’t even find

the moon, obscured by houses.
We look anyway, together,
comparing bloom to doubt,
how one is sure, the other

grows, and leaves
crunch beneath as the dog
stops our walking
to pee, to leave another

thing behind. On Sunday
I watched the Niagara dump millions
of gallons into itself, mist rising
into something, nothing. The moon

loomed huge over the bridge
to America towing sunset’s lavender
bed but you can watch a thing die
before your eyes, or not at all–

the way, driving back from Canada
in heavy traffic, I tapped you
on the shoulder on the sky bridge
and said, look, here’s something,

one thing beautiful left, look,
and took the world’s last magnificent,
proffered blue and there, as a passenger,
you refused.

 

(originally published in The Knicknackery, 2018)

Penny / Heart

& when you sleep (waking
life is not cheap)
I know our love’s worth
something

out on our back patio
drinking bad wine on Tuesday
& the dog can’t decide
which side of the glass

he wants to live
on, the wild & murk
or the safe & stone.

I’m living life under
fluorescents or artificial
light, got a wallet made
of air I’m thumbing through,

somehow living & learning
despite the change
or lack of– glass

clinks on bronze floor.
I’m saying I love the sundown
& evening air, my fingers
locked in yours, unloose.

 

(originally published in Panoplyzine, Winter 2017)

Warmth

I want to fold the dog
into an origami pipe
smoke it
and forget this
was ever a dog

later I will want
this dog nestled
next to me
asleep
fire lingering

instead I
fold creases
into blanket
wrapping
out the cold

I can’t shake
but for what
it takes
to sleep
through dawn

 

(originally published in Succor, 2017)

To Mandy (from Cece)

When in view I know I launch like a rocket toward you
but you are my favorite scent in the universe

I watch stars when sprinting through open fields
my neck beaming orange from my electric collar

you have given me many such gifts
but nothing can replicate your hand on my fur

you know I don’t need to shake my butt when I walk
I’m only playing but it is funny when you mimic my moves

& we have so many years & so few
and every day is so new I can’t bear to learn

the name of another dog or tree because everything is beautiful
& holy & profound in the way you let me roam free the times

I only need to go outside to pee & look, everything’s so gorgeous
I can’t bear to sit still & yet will return to you when you call my name

 

(originally published in Perspectives Magazine, Spring 2017)

Dogs

i know it’s the other way around
but i see the dogs in people

that intense hunger of waiting
by a wooden door so close to the thrust of opening

i want to eat the walls that keep you away
the doorknob you twist to leave
the blankets you always hide beneath

i hold my waste for hours
the measured discipline

when you speak your breath is memory
what you’ve consumed
i can’t look anywhere else

push me away i cling to you a vestige
of humanity is all remains the last living thing
who would love me

you and your bureaucratic affection
the withholding of every emotion
makes you vulnerable

i was born to want you by my side

you
my lamb
my wishbone
between teeth

like a star holds to gravity
before its collapse

some adherence to light
before the drift

the absolute zero of desire
far from the wild where
we were raised to want

close to where we want to be

 

(originally published in Viewfinder Literary Magazine, Summer 2016)

Pool Party

Yesterday we were at a pool party
attended by only a few others. It was
dog-friendly, as it was last week,
so the lone, small white dog
lapped water into his mouth
while on an inflatable raft and we
stood in silence and watched as he
drank the blue that held the specks
of fallen leaves and submerged spiders
while our beers turned warm. Last week
we were at a party in the same house
with a few of the same people but the
sun was out and I did not have to keep
wondering if you were okay, if you would
dip your feet into the clear with me and all
the people we did not know then because,
last week, a stranger in a bar did not yet
shake your body and bite you
long after you begged him not to–
no, the night before last week’s party
we danced to nineties hip-hop
inside the shadows of others until
we could not help but mine our
bodies for gold. Last week, we laughed
as the dog lapped the pool into his mouth
but watching, now, we know there are some
who force a tongue at whatever water
they see fit, how they lap and lap
until there’s nothing but a splash
of what they lapped at all.

 

(originally published in The Collapsar, Summer 2016)

To Paige (From Jack)

no one else spell w – a –
l – k jus ta invigarate

our senses & tendons
jus me & u, ta be outside

& sniff da wine in roses, .

when ya dance arms a whirlwind i dont speak
cuz i kno a days come we both dancin

& howlin, listen da moon whisprin secrets
& i dont want ya palms leave my full belly

da way da sun snatch ya gone in mornins.

dont want u to wake : it mean some
time u stay , other time da wooden gate

outside squeak & take u where my nose
cant find u, , sometime fa days . i chew

on bones u gave til my tongue become
a skeleton thirstin . , i wait fa blue sky

ta stop ringin da sun , when da day turn
gray , when u somehow materalize ..

dats when i have u : darkness : u sleepin
on ya bed a bleach & purple catmint .

i pray da bright awful requiem dont
replay– when u rise i wonder if

today u turn ta harmony , , or void
& how long . but

wid u beside me ,
no need ta wonder .–

u,, protected , & me ,
nose fulla ya petals ,

da sauvignon in roses .

 

(originally published in Sediments Literary-Arts Journal, Autumn 2016)

The Dust

Often I find myself wanting to move
from the dust like a lost, small dog,
fur a summertime shackle.

Those dark winter days
we were our own light.
Lapped the water in from a trough.
We didn’t have to dip (not deeply)
and we’d share our sips freely.

Then Valentine’s Day
came and went.
Meanwhile we sat alone
at our computers,
waiting to press send.

 

(originally published in The Legendary)