The Uncertainty Principle

Quantum physics have never been
more real than in this steaming
silver pot of Annie’s shells
and cheddar butter and milk
I’m cooking and the cat in our house
attacks crumpled-up balls
of paper yet sprints in fear
when a toilet is flushed. We are
all in orbit. You and me and
Earth and spoon in pot
mixing components into
tornado and I don’t know
where the melting butter
ends up nor the cheese
or where I’ll be in ten
years or a thousand
because our atoms
can diverge into
two paths any given
moment

          THE FIRST PATH

the one where you and I and most our friends and family are still alive
because ten years is a long time    someone both of us love has died
it’s my father I see dandelions on the dead a suit and tie something
he never would have worn & your mother her silky dress and
Avon perfume wafting through the wake      the frost her
permanent winter bed

          THE SECOND PATH

the one where you and I and all our friends and family are still alive
because ten years is a long time     someone both of us love will die
I see a bowl of ashes I see dead dandelions wilting on the stove
the steam carries souls up into my nose where I recall the heat
and depth of the Grand Canyon   sun pressing against my
neck Dad in his thick glasses & sweat     arms around me &
I pick up a stone & throw it over the edge

 

(originally published in The Courtship of Winds, 2019)

Mortality as First Date

The chairs we sit in are steel
horses, sad and dead. What you said
at the gallery in the warehouse was
to you, I have only given death and cookies.
Or corpses confused with candy.
Your cheeks puff, withdraw.
You’re silver in ceramic.
If I were a romantic I’d say
you belong in the painting.
Longing, always. But I am
a romantic. When we strolled
the botanical gardens we found longing
in the plants deemed poisonous.
How close I get to each sweet thing.
How close each is to death.

(originally published in Pif Magazine, Winter 2018)

Temporary Treasures

my father once mowed a rabbit into the lawn–
perfection leaves corpses

the tractor drones loud radio static

I never want to be someone
who compares pop music
to a limping tornado

autumn’s kaleidoscope leaves
the crumpled xylophone

black bags the scattered records

a taut-needled march to old age
I say these things now
but Eugene Delacroix said it best:

he was like a man owning a piece of ground
in which, unknown to himself, a treasure lay buried

music of the ether
of shifting chatter
fang-laughs from the teenage zeitgeist

when else has our unity
hinged on the city’s mustard smell

whether it’s there
or there isn’t

vapidity is DNA’s rapt curse

relinquishing joyrides for dimes
is our chosen profession

I prefer cremation to cream
and commitment to half & half

ambulances shriek when people talk
I never hear the atmosphere’s shrill
nor slow warmth of glaciers

in the spring of mottled souls
what is that frozen world?

we should unearth its hardened treasures

blue ice
and hammer

 

(originally published in Jokes Review, Summer 2017)

All the Bulbs are Burning Out

I am scared to death
of death.

Not just the big death
but tiny deaths, too.

All the bulbs are burning out
in my house one by one.

In living, we accrue small darknesses.

Mirror to mirror: void
where my eyes should be.

Hung mauve towel.
Vines of black mold.

Plastic ringlets steady
stained curtain infinity.

The silver shower faucet was once
a sunflower dreamed of fluorescence.

Now, downpour, no bright
for every prayer.

Gallons of black shower
(plead with God just–).

Gobs of

gobs and gobs of hair
cling to the drain.

Genuflect in the porcelain pitter-patter.

A feedback loop of weeps.

Hot water, cold water,
no water.

 

(originally published in Isthmus, Winter 2016)