16 April 2014

Monday's Breakfast

I.

Please, leave enough room for cream. Otherwise, my cup runneth over, all over, all over my teaching clothes. Thank you.

II.

A young man and his friend are sitting in the booth next to mine. "How old were you when you first met God?" He pours the coffee, leaving an inch of room at the top. "I think I was thirteen," the young man answers. "There was an electrical storm..."

III.

The rain washes the coffee stain from my blouse. It's cold and steady, and I'm not in it for long, just long enough to get to my car, just long enough to know that it's all over. Thank you. Thank goodness.

15 April 2014

Flung

With phantom limbs, I wrap
these silent arms around you.
The alarms that you've sounded
are all false, and here
I am, washing
dishes with my imagination.

Suddenly, I'm flung
into your dreamscape,
like a seedling.
You blew the dandelion;
you wondered where
her children scattered.

Well, I'm here,
against my will,
and all I can do
is try to hold you.
Don't take it personally
if I leave before you wake up.


14 April 2014

The Incredulity of Thomas

Shrouded in yellow is a little life, its eyes coaxed open. It's a mystery, this clumsy science. With the temperament tattooed on the inside, it doubted itself: The story was new, the membrane freshly exposed. What is there to do? The truth bubbled-up like a bad chemical reaction. "The more I think about it, the less impressed I am."



03 March 2014

Confirm your identity

I am frightening, with cavities bared, and I can barely catch my breath: tripping over words is an exhausting endeavor, and I endeavor to change. "What's on your mind?" It asks me, all platonic and frustrated, and I prepare by sharpening my mind on the latest grievance.

I delete every word.

I chart-out my successes and failures, each a destination on a map. In Wyoming I left someone stranded; in Vermont, the black and white of my dreams assaulted me; in Kentucky, I found my phone, my armor. With my thoughts ablaze, I can finally address all of the reasons why I let you down. Through the stories I tell, I am as young and old as the stars.

22 February 2014

Coming of Age

I like you
but I hate the
expressions you make
in your photographs
because you don't
make
those faces in real life,
with sugar-crusted
teeth,
Nyquil every night
for weeks.
I guess it means
I'm coming of age
when my brain swells
more quickly than my heart.



19 February 2014

For Future Reference

My face: the moon, pocked,
less knowable, less explored
but don't forget me.
Forgive me: I'm present.

Here, there is water.
Here, there is a reminder
of your past, of your future,
of landing softly
and writing your name
on my cheek.

Look here, for future reference:
I am in your sky,
a female stereotype,
visited by shells but not by you
for a long, long time.


07 February 2014

Winterreise

The cold evicts me
from my own breath, which is
seized inside my core.

To be sure, my life is not as hard.
Bread is easy now, and
it tastes better,
but that doesn't stop the cold.

You talk to me because
you want an audience.
I am a receptacle for the trash
that comes out
of your cold, dry mouth.

The bread rises, its insides soft and hot,
its outside hard and cracked.
I crack a smile, break bread
with you, a darling, cold and frail.

I am ungrateful. That's what depression means.
It means that my throat always needs to be cleared.
It means that my voice
is a crack in the shell of ice
that separates the present from the past,
the winter from the spring.
I am always a child, cold and hungry.

21 December 2013

No Set Location

We are not too far from a train's low whistle, and our dreams are set in motion, carried by the past...

A cat is kneading painfully on my diaphragm. A woman complains in the background about her older brothers, one of whom makes jewelry for the local fishnetted sirens. It's Christmas, and the lights burn holes in our skulls as they zoom on by, blues and reds bleeding together to make purple, wishes and fears bleeding together to make truth. The cat has fleas, is licking his coat neurotically, and I'm minding my own business, wanting to wake up without a headache. Even the cat thinks I'm furniture, and I suppose I am: cozy leather, conveniently stuffed, matter over mind. It's the holidays, after all.

11 December 2013

On Migration

She gave us a medal; she gave us a map.
- Sufjan Stevens, "Jacksonville"

I am healthier now, clutching
a mirror in my mind, a leaf
between my teeth.
The river is full
of leeches, but I fly over,
balancing the fever
on one wing and confusion
on the other.
The river is a mirror,
and my face is a happy blur.



05 December 2013

Intuition

The day after our last fight, you told her that she was beautiful. She said that you were charming. It was probably then that you decided that gaining perspective was worth losing a "soul mate." It was after reading those words that I noticed you left me as much as I left you. The next week entailed a pinch of public humiliation and reassessing seven years of platitudes, over fried sandwiches and token gestures. You didn't consider the new girl yet, but you would eventually. The old one disappeared into herself, waved at you from afar, spoke in third person. The lies were woven tightly with truths, tendons and muscles. Those muscles stayed tight. I tucked myself in, sheets as taut as muscles, as resistant as the ache. The day I realized that my bed was unmade was the day I let you go.