Getting Sober

If I don’t watch it, this lake
is vodka and I won’t care I don’t
know how to swim. Getting sober
is like that. I go out into the world
and look you in the eyes and say
I’m fine. I’m having a good time
and you go on never knowing
I was half-underwater, that
there was a monster trying
to make its way to the surface
and I had to push him down.

 

(originally published in Rattle, Winter 2018 – nominated for Best of the Net)

Plane Delay

You learn your plane
has been delayed
again.

You remind yourself it has nothing to do
with you. The cause must be
something mechanical– a loose cap or

calibration error. The crew
does not have to say it’s not you,
it’s us because by now you know

the sigh of steel wings, how planes take
a while to ascend anyway.
How insignificant– this delay

stretches hours and a kind
voice speaks through white
noise on the loudspeaker like

she wants to say there is something
we can do to make a difference.
The plane will have the sky when

it is ready. Until then,
do not say it is broken.

 

(originally published in Little Patuxent Review, Winter 2016)

Near-Collision

Not that I don’t want to walk the streets with you.
But when I sit on a suspended turtle shell
hanged from risen arms and don’t think it’s magic
is the issue. It should be magic.

We walked through spider webs.
Middle-school basketballers howled
like playing wolves behind us.

A rock split and whizzed past us like a meteor:
hurled through space and time
to find us here

and still barely missed.

Thousands of light years
on the pin of a needle.
Striking sandy bits of gravel.
Clanging like dropped silverware.

The fridge is packed with eggs inside.
Vodka lives frozen but still fills glasses
topped with orange juice. They swirl
and marry happily and end
in a bathroom, anyway.

As if chocolate swirls in ice cream
didn’t represent the arms of the galaxy.
Comets made of custard and fairy
dust move in high speeds and
travel in circles smaller than us.

I know at great range
there is someone else I will barely miss.

 

(originally published in Lines + Stars, Spring 2015)