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)
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)
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
perched against white
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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
to bring some kind of meaning
(originally published in Ohio Edit)
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)
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)