The Strip (Vegas)

in no other place does the sun
swindle the breath from your skin

those who walk in the neon glow
cut the chords of their own harps

your tired shoes crush cans
among mountain-ascending

penny-win dings &
skipped softness

of losses
listen to the suspended string

how she gently falls
to wine

 

(originally published in SOFT CARTEL, 2018)

I Tell Her I Love Her

I tell my girlfriend I love her
before we go to bed every night.
I tell her I love her in Vegas, in front
of slot machines spinning statistics,

neon colors blinding eyes beyond
our blur of vodka. I tell her I love her
before we fight in a tent on the beach
drunken under blankets and after that, too.

I don’t tell my mom I love her
on the phone when she’s alone
in her bedroom, when she cries
many nights because her twenty-

nine year marriage lives only in memories,
photographs, marginalia, in the musk
of dried sweat on forest-green cargos.
He had dragged an oak limb

after soft rain; now, crusted mud–
crevices alive in the treading
of boots– traces new footsteps
on less-traversed floors.

 

(originally published in Boston Accent Lit, Summer 2016)