my body is at war against my mind
the soldiers are pleased
they feed at a nearby Wendy’s
if my body the inherited god was a temple
it is no longer
and if I am the only existence I believe in
the war is warring against the concept of self
antibodies against anti-bodies
from one end of the universe
to the other
I am no longer
(originally published in OVS Magazine, 2017)
(originally published in Ginosko Literary Journal, Summer 2017)
I cracked my phone screen
on my first date without you.
I carried it in my back pocket, like always,
though maybe I postured myself differently,
finally sitting up straight enough
to carry my own weight.
I didn’t look at my phone
until after the date. By then,
I could no longer remember you
without the shattered glass–
the flawless screen was not made
from our blazing beach days
of black seaweed and slithering kites
that begged the wind to let go,
where footsteps parted sand
to lead the tide into ourselves,
to let the moon drag our bodies
into the ocean’s boundless mirrors
where, enveloped in reflections,
we could only gasp for air.
(originally published in Metonym, Fall 2017)
in dark crowds I look for your shadow
along the perimeter of park grass wet
my beer churns from belly-up to forget
seeing you again but for now loud thumps
and guitar squeals glow from every beacon
the way one holds to hope just long enough
to make it religious communion in every
plastic cup bought from jazz-blue tokens
I wait for resurrection every turn of head
with you wandering some sidewalk
I walked earlier how you materialize just
the body returning to remind me I cannot
wait any longer to be rid of wanting to walk
in circles until I cannot know any better
if you were ever even real at all
(originally published in Chantwood Magazine, Spring 2017)
After Band of Horses
After my sister’s morning call broke
our father’s death, the first thing
I did was listen to Everything All the Time,
sobbing into unrequited guitar
and an ethereal voice soaring
into some great beyond. Seven years later,
I drink Bordeaux with my roommate
in the kitchen, cyclical tones
filling the room. The guitar is a coffin
for us both, lowering Dad’s corpse
into dirt. Her grandpa died
when this song released.
We rake our past leaves under burnt-out bulbs.
We agree: The Funeral was written for both of us
to pass the billion-each-insignificant day.
Dead leaves own the lawn each season
of our funerals. The same deaths
in autumn chill still dropping the needle
into memory’s vinyl– to come up only
to pull us under, show us wrong.
(originally published in Chronogram, Spring 2017)
The days when we would lay
on blue towels by the beach
combing through our Merriam-Webster
holding every fascinating word by the stems in our mouths,
our vibrancy was inseparable from gardens
full of hyacinths and rhododendron and zinnias
and, yes, forsythias, all these flowers in our hometowns
we never knew the names of
until we saw the words on sand-shorn pages,
said the names out loud, grasped endlessly
for petals in each other. No, we bloomed
laughter from our throats, planted seeds
into pits where absence grows in ensuing Aprils.
We never knew what words might appear
on Scrabble nights hunched over grids of possibility and–
strings of letters string surprising words together.
Marionettes, spider webs, violins, shoelaces,
your hair among the rules of nature, and nurture,
here nurturing the garden, here the home
where we tend other flowers– all my love,
I repeated. Forsythia, forsythia, forsythia.
But those beach days were distant, the tide slurring
softly alongside my returns from long unexplainable workdays–
all my love, I repeated. For Cynthia.
Wooden tiles tornadoed to the floor, slapping
the carpet with words we had not invented yet–
there is no remedy for lost trust. The flame
already sleeps in the bed of the mouth.
Cynthia, Cynthia. I did not know a Cynthia–
but I had never been able to name a forsythia
in the wild. The next time I see one
will feel like cheating. Nothing too-known is magical–
there is wonder in inventing nomenclature,
that a word like forsythia can only be made
in moments like anesthesia, with darkness descending
like the cigarette clouds of a severe storm when, in the drift
into a new consciousness, a lilac floats your mind’s pond–
a lilac, maybe, though that’s not what you want,
and maybe, in the distance, you see the blossoming
yellow that accompanies spring, the air golden around it–
the beauty that’s grander than words.
You wish you never learned the name for it.
(originally published in Sheila-Na-Gig Online, Spring 2017)
Dredge sponge chunks from the long
day. Necessary sins
dirty your hands. Don’t dig.
Don’t mistake machines for
diamonds. Bubble your hands.
Dishes steam. Enough. You
don’t have to work alone.
(originally published in Ghost City Review, Autumn 2016)