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)
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)
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)
Tulip tree in Alaska. Cold
and wild. Rembrandt blue
Christmas lights, shepherd
pie a warmth of familiar metal
stovetop. Doorstep. Gold
beneath nothing but rusted shovel
mnemonic arms repping
dumbbells. Must be strong
in clumps of conviction. The south
says the creator God’s a yes.
Freeform jazz. Bubbled
champagne. Festivals devoted
to home. Houston before me,
Texas a pink tie knotted.
(originally published in bluepepper, Winter 2018)
Relics melt– ardent wisps millions
may they drip. Desert echoes– voices
through throats, landscapes for wing-
spans, sand blown past the horizon.
(originally published in Reality Hands, Winter 2018)
Every day my girlfriend asks
if I can swim. I ask
do I smell like onions?
She says yes
you smell like you.
I want to be the garden.
She says she wants
to eat me, to push me
overboard. No, I say
and she laughs.
I tell her my new recipe,
dill and onion mac and cheese.
After eating, she says
it tastes like everything else
The garbage disposal
won’t work again.
Our mouths full
of makeshift we have
no place to
(originally published in Triggerfish Critical Review, Summer 2018)