Place the ring around your finger.
Let it spin. Pretend, for once,
that something can attain
perpetual motion. You drive back-
country roads to leave a life behind
yet miss the destined exit. Consider
the spin of the Earth, the galaxy,
the universe. At what point does
longing end? There are always
voids to fill, vast pits of fruit
you would savor if you could
stay still enough to love
(originally published in Cabildo Quarterly, Fall 2017)
I’m with Lex at Lockview
ordering tomato soup because
I just got out of a relationship.
I tell him I’m fine, though he never asked.
The bowl arrives alongside my Kentucky Bourbon
Barrel Ale. I slurp red and talk loudly
for the cute girl at the table behind me
wearing all black– we made eye contact
waiting for tables between entrance and exit–
she doesn’t hear me, probably,
but my friend watches me cremate crackers
over the bowl to spoon the goo inside.
He says slow down but I say life moves
fast– hell, I ingested magic mushrooms
after leaving my ex’s place then Lex
asks our waitress for his grilled cheese
without mushrooms and the waitress asks for menus
but I hand her my bowl and say take it please
take it then tell her I’m fine and it was wonderful
being in my house alone after this happened standing
on the kitchen table beside the silver chandelier
lined with black mold and dirt and how
I waited for anyone to come home
and no one did so I kept standing.
(originally published in OVS Magazine, 2017)
As I run hot faucet water
over the head of my electric toothbrush,
Jennifer asks isn’t it better
when we brush our teeth together?
This, of course, is redundant.
I have cleaned the spit
and foam from my brush alone
through the years,
watched clean water slowly spiral
down a clog.
I have taken better care
Flossed the plaque
tartar of bad habits,
in and out of you.
These I can withstand.
Thus I answer at all.
I watched us turn into centipedes,
not butterflies– tiny legs to run
pushed out of us, not wings.
In half-moon light we crawled
the hollow ridges of our bodies.
Someday, we thought. Children.
But it was true: neither of us knew
how to bloom. We kept scratching
at the other’s skin digging
for the beating heart
but only exposed the blood.
(originally published in The Quiet Letter, Summer 2017)
On one of our nightly walks
of less and less talk,
gunshots punctuate the air,
puncturing our silence.
I hold my palms over your ears
when an ambulance passes us,
its siren shrieking into our void,
lights turning us red
like there’s any lust left.
(originally published in The Blotter Magazine, Summer 2017)
was full and yellow in summer
but we arrived in autumn
when the sunflowers were withered
and drooping brown
to the ground
stem necks snapped perhaps slowly
and knowing nothing of summer
we lost our sense of fall
and we joked maybe someone
came to kill them all
but the local bookseller said
it’s just too late to grow
so we wandered past closed
shop after closed shop
thinking about the lovely things
we heard this town would offer
but knowing the dead sidewalks
with each lonely step
it was only talk
(originally published in The Write Place at the Write Time, Fall 2017)
Wish we were as patient as my car.
To drive four hundred miles not
needing to stop. To go seven hours
over grayscale roads and want
to talk to you still after.
We drove a long way but got
stranded on the side of
a southern highway, scared
from too many October horror films,
from lasting even this long.
(originally published in CircleShow, Summer 2017)
Since I first saw your face
shine from a stage and again
in desert sun and through cool,
desert night, you always felt right.
We are soaked now in swimming
pools and sands pooled near
the coastline’s swaying smile
that thrums for us; and here,
water kissing submerged feet
anchored in each other.
(originally published in Eunoia Review, Winter 2017)
If you drive a car whose
combustion confuses fuel
for air, the engine will quiver
along smooth concrete.
At certain speeds, a clanking
rotor is similar
to the natural cadence
of heartbeats in embrace:
amplitude becomes a deafening
in the stillness of night.
Let a rotating machine of mass
be mounted on a stiff spring
to fix support. The pieces
must move vertically in
a single degree of freedom
even if the rotor is unbalanced,
its hypnotic center missing
one valve’s intake,
forgetting the other’s exhaust.
(originally published in Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts, Summer 2017)
everything springs to life
again your last
relationship your new
relationship these are strings
balloons with brains inside
of them and hearts
at the center of the brains
if we fly a little higher
there’s no going back
(originally published in Dragon Poet Review, Summer 2017)