Brushing

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
of myself.

Flossed the plaque
between memories,
tartar of bad habits,
freshened breath
in and out of you.

These I can withstand.

Thus I answer at all.

Advertisements

Caterpillars

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)

The Sunflower Field in Yellow Springs

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)

Rotor

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)

Spring

everything springs to life
again your last
relationship your new
relationship these are strings
on never-ending
balloons with brains inside
of them and hearts
at the center of the brains
beating thinking
if we fly a little higher
there’s no going back

 

(originally published in Dragon Poet Review, Summer 2017)

Syzygy

We collected enough spacedust
to build a story, and so began
ours. I sought ways to learn
you: almanacs, online astronomy
classes, science fiction novels.
You were a constellation
to call my own. Time wore
on, and light from an ex-lover
reached you. Your position
in the sky changed. You
moved no closer. I bought
a telescope you admired
for awhile. Said you liked
the way I looked at you. Here
I thought I was the only one
you gleamed for. I asked
for your coordinates. You said
no matter where you went,
you would always be brighter
by the other star.

 

(originally published in Halfway Down the Stairs, Summer 2017)