Fill the cracks so the ants can’t infest.
This is the poison applied for feeding:
urine-yellow icky glue sealing lips
to take home to another body. Sometimes
words stick where I open my mouth–
the crevice between us not letting you in.
I, too, have brought small gifts back
underground thinking them an olive
branch. Each attempt kills one way
or another. Malignant misinterpretations.
I return with this pellet of words.
This killing I never meant to witness.
(originally published in Abstract Magazine, Fall 2017)
through apples (nothing).
half a meal, half a pine,
half of what we hoped for,
the way a core reveals itself inedible,
though we knew.
from day one, bites
sometimes the juice sweetness
overpowers slow rot.
it was early on, and worms
had yet to emerge from their holes
in the ground to greet us.
all we had to do
was wait for rain.
(originally published in First Literary Review – East, Winter 2018)
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)
The alley is paved with old bricks
blackened by rain. I used to want
conformity, that tidal hope gripping
your gut. You must have a family soon.
Everywhere babies are sprouting
but garden sprinklers are off because winter
is near, crackled dirt longing for storm–
how long since the rough of gale and rain?
Seasons, in these frigid airs. And my seedling
heart stopped growing soon after its first beat.
(originally published in The Coachella Review, Winter 2017)
I want to fold the dog
into an origami pipe
and forget this
was ever a dog
later I will want
this dog nestled
next to me
out the cold
I can’t shake
but for what
(originally published in Succor, 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)
(originally published in After the Pause, Fall 2017)