look in the mirror
that’s the ghost of you
a fraction of a second ago
I look into my lover’s eyes
and she seems alive though
I know we’re wilting
together when we hold
hands the action is
a time traveler
our atoms providing
the illusion of touch
but what of the heart
does the beating keep
us breathing or the
faith that we might be
my head rests
on your chest
echoes of eternity
I am both part of
(originally published in Hamline Lit Link, 2018)
was the memory–
booming in bloom
With mist lifting
off Lake Dardanelle,
what it means
to be new–
so young was the fog
the mind’s cleaver sliced.
(originally published in The Quiet Letter, Summer 2017)
You can recover anything. If you can’t,
you will. What you seek exists
but has left for the black hole of knowledge
steady at the center of the galaxy.
You will become a different person,
renovate the house but keep the windows.
You will find a new lover but process
bits of data still there– the comparisons
and air hurtle toward end-time, the end
line unquantifiable by any metrics of the heart,
of time complete and incomplete starts.
There is a long black hair lodged in your beard
from a lover though the body has moved on.
You forget the names of things you know
but know what they are, how you can have mind
without soul but no soul without mind.
You can live a new life
without losing the old.
(originally published in the hour after happy hour, Fall 2017; also published in The Cadaverine Magazine)
I need new faces
I used to find
through the smells
of mom’s scrambled eggs
I want to be
a bullet train
I’ll tell my future grandkids
(originally published in Neologism Poetry Journal, Summer 2017)
*Pushcart Prize Nomination
the ponytail blonde in the banana sweater & black leggings
floats in some fiction world she belongs in
then asks the librarian a question I cannot hear
she shrugs when she speaks
she figure-skates her slow, shelved glissando
(fantasia of the no-talking zone)
I am writing this poem when
she shoots past my table
with a green hardcover book–
I did not catch the title
or ask for her name
so I am left with
only my words:
I find harder
& harder to
(originally published in Viewfinder Literary Magazine, Summer 2016)
Sometimes I say what I don’t mean.
There is an algorithm which can make me forget;
the others remind me to remember.
Your action has been undone. As if my actions
needed a separate undoing– I did not expect you,
with your raven hair, to perch our thousand
miles, thousand days to bottle time
and cast to sea, a folded note to be read
by a stranger at shore. Here, I am a knot
bound to be undone, tethered to a battered shoe,
and in the sprint, wind coarsens your hair.
In the cold we move closer and closer until the breathing
is stale and fogs my car’s windows, the outside world
turned gray. Confusing a fluorescent lightbulb for the moon,
I would risk one more rejection to bring you even nearer,
past the point of no return.
(Originally published in Corium Magazine, Spring 2016)
In darkness I will squeeze
to keep my hold on you.
In light I will bottle
the glint from your eyes.
I will keep it
in my pocket
and know the warmth
Over time it will become sand:
an hourglass in which will keep
the deep, ancient secret of the ocean:
love has no boundaries which cannot be breathed
(originally published in White Ash Literary Magazine)
(originally published in Vector Magazine, Spring 2016)
the baristas grind bones into coffee
in these cafes I call skeleton closets
this golden-brown-haired babe stands by my table
her laced leggings draw desire with a fine ballpoint pen
her head whips to me from some psychic seventh sense
she is my ex-girlfriend’s brother’s future ex
her eyes descend as B-movie UFOs
attraction vacuums neatly into a plastic bag
she sits with me like a pocketed thunderstorm
galvanized on The Great Wall of Chain-Link
you must believe me she says
there are no hard feelings
a poacher must say the same
beside a rhino’s castrated face
she asks if I come here often
I say I come hard everyday
just the flickering moon will summon the wolf
and we emulate its growls in fluorescent light
time is our species’ one enduring invention
a new carcass will not survive the night
so hold on to your corpse for as long as you can
until we mourn with our friends the forgetting
(originally published in The Broken Plate, Spring 2016)
passed like a wavering wristwatch.
teeth quietly chattered.
the spider-leg-frizzy occiput.
raw morning shampoo. like an apple.
or butterflies. blunt sides of pins.
the polyester blanket soaked
from evening vinegar.
collected like dust.
(originally published in Cosmonauts Avenue – Spring 2015)