Winter’s End

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
                                        frigid kiss.
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)

Zen of the Clattering Ceiling Fan

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)

Can’t Stop Coughing

I binge-take extra-strength cough
drops with gooey menthol centers

having come home from Thanksgiving
earlier than expected

temperatures in the 30s
a shrill turn in the wind

no one outside
but to yell at dogs

men summoning phlegm
hack away at progress

here I sit
alone loudly

perched against white
pillows dry-throated

the medicine kicks in
allows me to speak up

to silence the wall’s tongue
a quiet my body loves

 

(originally published in Hamline Lit Link, 2018)

Space Junk

After the breakup, our phone conversations
become space debris, steel pieces hardly
discernible hurtling haphazardly at five miles

per second. Where do the scraps go?
The gold taste of summer will impact the brain
and puncture, enflame. We wish to assist

the start-ups who seek to construct
machines to eliminate wayward spares
of satellites trapped in the gravity of a body,

propel its dust into the atmosphere to burn.
We drift wary of small artifacts
from failed missions to emerge

in the distance of night to strike
and make split into fragments
we will never assemble again.

 

(originally published in Allegro Poetry Magazine, Spring 2017)

My First Conversation with Anna

was on a stump under a wooden bridge
that led nowhere. You said I am a fence

wanting pink clouds. We walked the tumorous hill.
You brought up your depression. The green

was infinite and quiet and a silence of oaks.
It was cold and snowing when I was naked

in the dirt digging with my hands with the other naked people.
We did not know what we were looking for. It was the first day

of winter and our legs burned from the chill. I said,
tell me everything you’ve ever known to be true.

You said nothing. But I make videos and we can record
our legs for twenty minutes– just the motion is enough

to nourish us. Hairy legs, hairless legs, left leg, right leg
walking upward to the nearest star– we carved a path

but it was our galaxy led us believe we could wind
and weave through sporadic trees called parks / art

exhibitions and we have these trees
on leashes trying to be trees

and if only we could look at them
and notice our leaves the same

we are so ill with them so malignant
and stuck and if we layer with them

into them if we could grow with them
we would bloom forever in ourselves

and then what would we have to talk about?

 

(originally published in mannequin haus, Summer 2016)

Two Guys, Two Gallons of Yuengling, Two Plastic Jugs

Tongues composed of lager and slathered words drip
turbulence from the roadmaps of mouths, the ocean’s
rock and regurgitation. We meandered along brick-paved
roads with half-amber jugs in our hands, how quickly
we drown but how slowly we swayed on swings
in the frigid, desolate playground at night by the highway,
eyes entranced by the spotlight from the city’s hidden heart
we desire but never find but in the beer’s flat hops like a pair
of clumsy trombonists, asynchronous staccatos and B-flat
scales bottling air from silver mouthpiece to S.O.S–

 

(originally published in Cacti Fur, Summer 2016)

Phone Conversation with My Sister on Christmas Day

The trees are dead, she said.
Peering outside, it was true:
A still-barren sixty degrees, sun
meekly reveling in its new warm.

A week ago, our mother cut down the tree
we picked apples from as children.
They were small, red, never delicious–
brown and burrowed with worms

because anything sweet from the skin
isn’t as sweet as you might think.
All those colorful lights we tied around
the necks of plastic and decoration,

the way we choked the holiday,
wrung out the last ounces of life
from the animal ornaments on every pine.
The walrus with the broken tusk.

The hyena whose laugh can nearly
be heard. As if anthropomorphizing could
ever atone for the past but I would love
to believe in a world where a fragment of

a tusk means something is truly missing–
perhaps rickety laughter ringing through
thin walls, dominant as the wooden organ
moans his mantra: everything in this world

is connected. Not every connected thing
is aware of its living, its connection.
But the way fingers dance deep
resonance out of the organ’s shifty teeth

to provide holiness for the changed house
is the gift we must open for ourselves
with our hands full of music– a sourness
in harmony, an ode to shriveled apples.

(originally published in Flatbush Review, Winter 2016)

Dead Bugs in the Light Fixture

from bed we stared upward
at dead bugs in the light fixture

dark spots scattered so motionless
at the foot of what blinds and allures

you said I’m not going to remove them
I mentioned the blinds were parted this entire time

you said a homeless man lives across the street
but the cold and snow would prevent anyone from watching

the light was dimmed
neither of us intended escape

I learned a stinkbug can withstand temperatures
of negative twenty I had tossed one into snow

and it froze meaning its heart turned cold
in an instant and I expect it to

the shell lifeless and its own
dark spot in the snow

the walls were already painted olive
you said you could live with that

we guessed the time and now past midnight
you hadn’t done your reading for the morning

so I returned to the salted road
cruising past dark snow

and trees no cars
no other lights

for miles just ice
just cold just frosts

and frozen bugs
expecting spring

to bring some kind of meaning

 

(originally published in Ohio Edit)

The Photograph Was a Drunken Winter

slackened falls into chaos: each plod
a sobering imprint on snow

buzzing cavernous hearts
white honey swathes the air

the dewdrop pale of her shirt, arms curved
from the door in bent-seven candles, icicled

waxen breath hissing this
is the moment sculptured to ice:

a future with gluey trees barren at night,
tongues born licking telephone poles

static moments stretched to angel hair
feel like rare dreams caught in dim light

 

(originally published in Scarlet Leaf Review)

Christmas Eve, 2014

the living room drones and mumbles.
the bone dove sings a petrified song

above the tree, nearly silent enough
to believe a resurrection could occur

in the coming days. pass the stocking
with the kidney stone. bring

the anesthetic. we will drink–
this is the blood bond, the calm,

the thin slicing of ham: bloodless
& calm, torn red wrapping paper

strewn about the room

 

(originally published in Whale Road Review, December 2015)