you practice the scorpion on your back porch
while your cat wanders about like she has
somewhere to go and we don’t
you stretch the sky darkens and fireflies
illuminate the fence the cat wants to scale
I ask what of your qualities you see in her
you say she’s an affectionate asshole
I drink another of your beers we have
talked for weeks about how I never
seem comfortable anywhere I go with anyone
you don’t think I’m a vine that has found
its wall to climb even cats want walls
they know their limits I’m not sure what mine are
how high or should I even try
(originally published in Roanoke Review, Spring 2018)
Smoking, joking winter asking how to
take things slow.
Drinking, sinking field is thinking about
to let spring go.
Laughing, baffling cold front having one last
Slicing, striking freak-snow lightning– go on,
make a wish.
The cherry blossom knows there is a chance she’ll never bloom.
Wish for her, dear poet. Wish she’ll flower soon.
(originally published by Toe Good, Winter 2018)
Planes fly in circles
all day, all night.
You traveled alone, again.
There’s always one bag
no one claims on the belt.
Movement stops, you wait
in the airport’s clinical lights
while conversations blend to a drone.
Beach bracelets and t-shirts in tow,
others wait for rides in the river of cars.
Passengers from other planes filter in
and tend their incoming sheep.
There are destinations,
but don’t rush.
(originally published in 50GS, Winter 2018)
In our Euripidean illness
we thought the apocalypse belonged
to no one when, in fact, the tragedy was
A tethered shoestring at the feet of all the boys
here– a long intestine packed.
And we were a puddle drinking
rain past the lips of cement until we sank into sleep
and how what we hid in our hearts was money,
blood pulsing green through shadowy veins
the cardiovascular surgeon broke his fingers trying to fix.
(originally published in Cabildo Quarterly, Winter 2018)
beer half past noon listening reading
to sam sax’s on alcohol poem
after the final line in one hand
a bottle to my lips my body a future
i promised mom i’d outlive her
& it’s going well so far
but these low-hanging clouds
are moving fast and there are drips
of sky becoming foggier
sara says we shouldn’t have drank last night
but the beers at woodlands are bargain $2 drafts
o genie whisk me to an open field
with flask construct a crumbling house
at the center where i lay drooling the day’s
my mouth a volcano
concrete spat into my palms
the heaviness of me
(originally published in Flypaper Magazine, Winter 2018)
These Tinder dates and hookups.
Teeth kisses and unfamiliar homes.
You count cold days and they are circular.
There’s a blue hue from the window.
M snores in unison with the universe
of her bedroom. I can’t sleep, so
I become the fan. After some time,
transcendence is the blade that cuts
through stale air, makes the room breathe.
(originally published in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Spring 2018)
do not miniaturize the bicycle torso between blue wheels
nor the twig tree broad-shouldered nor yellow-trousered man
walking the candy cane
coming shapes myself an igloo of time contracting
mirror view hot pyramids the tips crumble so reaper crows
confuse for wheat
the sculpted falsity in the curving sidewalk
those pickled legs just churn and churn
(originally published in Cafe Aphra, Winter 2018)
Upon the gum’s shore,
a body beaches–
abscessed tooth of
How the mouth learns
Soon, this is ritual.
let bleed from morning
The dentist says
don’t drink– so
consume the ocean
of the night
yourself to sea.
(originally published in former People, Winter 2018)
Can’t even sustain myself with the hours
I work to make myself; a waterfall of dollars
and dreams splashing off wet stone. I hold no
heart hostage but my own; the heart holds me
hostage through beating, my breathing
a slow decay. In aging I prove nothing
to the universe except that I exist;
through the office, I prove I do not.
Despite the hours, the blood and bone
monuments I erect, then forget–
the steady draining of days worth
not enough to get me by.
(originally published in Sheila-Na-Gig Online, Spring 2018)
I’ll enter our bedroom to open
my laptop where I reserve
a French five-star dinner and
yes we have kids in this dream
the universe theirs to explore
so they start by clanging pots
and pans in the sine band of
our kitchen underbelly worlds
smaller than the space we used
to enclose the first time beneath
the orange blanket hot chocolate
wafting from the kitchen slunk
into pillowcases and snug before
the sun steams yolk in the black
pan gathers its yellow around
the edges waiting patiently to
(originally published in The Wire’s Dream, 2018)