20 December 2023

a place that I can't get to

In a room, all I feel
is the cold that you left.
Through the air, all I see
is your face full of blame.
What's left to see?
What's there to see?
...A place that I can't get to.

Red House Painters, "Song for a Blue Guitar"

Who am I but
an impermanent object
into something
I don't recognize,
dreaming of a place that
I can't get to,
where every grain of an idea,
every morsel of
a tedious ritual
seems like a waste of time
because you aren't there?

12 December 2023


with the same voice,
you would coo at small animals
and comfort your adult children.

with the same eyes,
though colorblind,
you would sort laundry
and choose school outfits.

with the same hands,
you would tidy Grandma's grass and trees
and bury beloved pets
when they passed from this realm into the next,

leaving their vessels behind
for you to carefully grieve,

for you to lay their empty limbs down and rest
as comfortably as possible.

with my soul, with my heart,
I hope you can know
I am so thankful.

rest, dad.

04 December 2023

The true quiet

For Dad

How fortunate to have each day
with you, beyond the artificial quiet
of this room, full of gentle beeps
and yellow lights, shining gems
of unknown information.
How fortunate to have each day
of choices for you, gifted hands taking
wires and tubes and delicate machines
blessing you with comfort.
But how selfishly, forcefully I have behaved,
taking the hands of father time into my own--
Why now, and why him? I ask.
The helper, the seeker
who couldn't help himself,
still seeking purpose for himself,
still needing to love himself--

I know there are no answers.
With the time that is left, I am here,
we are here, anticipating
the true quiet, and loving you--
how fortunate.

06 November 2023

their heart a balloon

how much space can a single person take up, a single person,

their heart a balloon, filling more with air than blood,

and the vessel lifts them up 

past themselves, past what matters, and the space taken up becomes infinite,

without apology

05 November 2023

wrong god

The brightest screen is replacing the sky today, and the dangers behind it are hidden in wires. 

"You will get your money," she said, her voice, fractal, a prism, the smallest wave or beam...

..."just let me see the tangle of wires."

And just like that, the father slit her throat, her blood shining and sparkling, a currency of stars.

She saw nothing but the blur narrowing as she realized she put her trust in the wrong god.


Revisiting the worst in us goes beyond a short trial period. It has to uproot the dried and damaged, for they died of thirst, and you were too late to properly tend to them.

Let's reflect on this tangible fact for a moment, as the roots turn to dust in your palms -- just who do you think you are, exactly?

And do you know anything about nurturing these children?

Because you wear the gloves and overalls. You wear the straw hat. You even brought the proper canteen. 

But you left your other tools at home. Your boots are clean and new. And your eyes track the movement of the sun in the sky a bit too eagerly.

You don't want to take your time. You want to hurry up, and get out of here.

Revisiting the worst in us is tedious and grueling. It isn't for the weak. Confess your crimes to the seedlings, and pretend you know something, anything, about nurturing these children.

Because you're needed.

02 August 2023

curb st0mp appeal

all of the lights in your car are turned off. Radiohead tinkers softly behind a forced fan. a forced fan, a forced smile, a forced hand on the steering wheel, and you are parallel parked in front of his house, with a little orange orb dancing on your lips. 

it's a man like this, who knows your real name, branches of a family tree, burned. it's a man like this who does more than spit on you when he sees you, when he notices your eyes lingering too closely on a significant emblem ironed onto his jacket sleeve. 

so you follow him home after he uses the self checkout. you know he doesn't spot you now. with a forced smile, you shush the fantasy in your mind, of replanting the trees, making him do it with you. 

instead, you watch the lights go off, one by one, in his little house, ending with his curtainless first floor bedroom and the shaded beacon on a Confederate flag, a delicate tapestry. 

he must know your real name, but not tonight. you roll down the window, put out your cigarette, and turn the headlights back on. 

how to disappear completely.

31 July 2023


The joke is on all of us. 
It isn't a comfort. 
It's a smothering. 

When she said 
that you get to choose 
to be happy, 
she hoped you'd take 
the pail from beside 
your inherited bed 
and walk it to the stream, 

the gentle beck that's just 
"always been there." 

But "always" 
has no volume, 
no weight, 
no matter--
not anymore. 

"Always" became a mist, 
then it became a story. 

This decision isn't a decision at all:
it's the pillow held over your face
until you slip away,

further and further and further away--
no volume, no weight, no matter,
just gone, like all of your choices.

09 June 2023

empty sella

pressed firmly at the base 

until there was a small pop,

fluid then danced and glistened

as it filled the cavity

like a little girl's glittery curtains

placed hurriedly

in her brand-new bedroom.

except, nothing was ceremonious.

nothing heralded this change of scenery,

and no one could even pinpoint

when it happened.

before we all knew it,

the girl was a woman.

hopes dashed,

she was only moderately


a woman with a past--notebooks

of her own questions, but of other people's  stories.

20 March 2023


As the engine grinds,
the blood and bones gum up
what little connections we have made.

And before light settles into
the wrinkles of the land,
she turns to her savior

and forgives him for the sand
collapsing her veins like old tunnels.

"Be a dear," she says,
"and hold my hair when
they finally come for me."

15 February 2023


 when they pick at my bones

 i hope they take their time &

 enjoy every scrap that took me so long to collect

because it's the least i deserve

for all of the listening i performed

for each painful caw

i'll just

calmly request--

"chew slowly                                    &quietly

don't consume me whole

take your time

as you take my life"

20 January 2023

Tinder Date, Part 1

Just let me grab my keys
and I'll be on my way.

When I arrive,
I'll just use my reflection
in the storefront window
to make sure I look human enough:
pressed slacks;
inherited loafers;
compression garments
underneath the fanfare--
the overt performance and
exaggerated presentation, i.e.
Urban Decay on my teeth.
I'll shove my keys into my pocket,
look for you in a crowded room.
Maybe you'll flag me down.
Maybe your cool, sweaty palm
will meet mine in an awkward shake,
like we are striking an unspoken deal:
I'll promise to be polite,
if you promise not to kill me.

Note: Inspired by a friend's true story, recounted and embellished with her permission.

18 January 2023

Tinder Date, Part 2

Teeth are a good place to salvage DNA, you said, a bit casually.
I did not know at the time if I should have come up with an excuse
to leave the date early, or if I should have kept listening.

Maybe I should have taken notes while listening
to those true crime podcasts, interviews with seasoned investigators,
throats pitted and scarred from cigarettes and coffee acid.

Maybe I should have stayed up late with Grandma,
process, in earnest, Detective Hercule Poirot’s observations--
each carefully-coated in Murray's Superior mustache wax--
even if his silver-screen depiction was missing the gravitas to keep me awake.

You noticed that I was suddenly quiet. You stirred the soup in front of you.
Speaking of teeth, yours are very nice, very straight, you stated,
because you were hoping to break the silence, fill it with your voice, again.

I excused myself from the table.

I think that bistro is closed now. It’s too bad. They had excellent bread.

Note: Inspired by a friend's true story, recounted and embellished with her permission.

06 January 2023

Disassociation, 1936

He broke open
her mouth,
burgled the secrets inside
that were hidden behind
little teeth. "There you are,"
he said, triumphantly,
but she was actually
nowhere. She was gone,
far away from there,
with eyes
scanning across
so many scattered
flurries, ash
in the sky.