dead dog julyI.the summer heat lays limp in the city’s lap,breathing long oppressive breaths.it does not even lift its lolling headto bark out hoarse indignancywhen a strange man brings the mail.II.there might be heavy rain today,they say,brought by some swollen, murmuring cloud.so what?the world will whirl and howl,then settle down,to die a little more.III.o, quickly, love,press your back against the wall in fearas the universe spreads her arms andshuts her eyesand starts to summon the end of all things.o, quickly,come with meto the place of windows full of speechless afternoonhot windy whispers of half-formed solutions and resolutions,sweltering sunlit meadows we’ll wander and then forget.o quickly, love,let’s to the season of forgettingand unwind all of our harshest memoriesand fill the universe’s mouthwith mute cotton.IV.i’ll whisper these words to you some eveningwith all my exigency in the hand i rest on your arm—and you
Seeking Your StarMarch 20, 2014Some stars burn so brightly, they burst before they see the cosmos unfold. You shared the warmth of your glow with as many as you could before you rose too high for the sky to handle and scattered sacred stardust across it. Your legacy is seen in constellations.A few days laterMom called me to the window today to show me a lone star in a cloudless sky. She said she thought of you.Mother's Day, 2014Nana told me at lunch today that she heard footsteps in the room where she keeps your urn. She went upstairs to greet Papa several times, thinking the footsteps were his, but found him sleeping. Our waitress gave each woman at our booth a carnation. Outside, sunlight adorned our skin and held us.I could have sworn I felt you holding us, too.June 21, 2014I took a plane out of Chicago to get back home. The sun set mid-flight, tie-dying the sky in orange and red. As we rose over the clouds, my jetlagged eyes rested upon a lone star pinned against
Heat AdvisoryWe are an air-mass thunderstorm at the heightof an Indian summer -- a cloudburst collidinginto a cyclone, raising the temperature of anywho wander through our sweaty inversion.I soar above the earth buoyed on your thermals,straight into a clap of thunder conceived bylightning fever. A roiling heatwave travelsacross our connection, evaporating the atmospheresurrounding the eye of our storm. Your humidbreath wisps over the thermodynamics of my skin,pushing cumulonimbus up the drought in my spine.Muggy kisses trail down my body like volcanic ash,a haze blurring the lines between our hurricanes.And as the barometer spikes, my heartbeat quickens;I am sucked into the vortex of your tropical storm.
Cyclical loveI see a beginning and an endclasped within the lines of your palms, echoingin the ripples of your irises;I remember the apricot april morningstumbling over your outstretched legsin the park which I had never seen asanything more than a cut-through, butmy life changed course and the parkbecame a destination and I still don’t knowwhen I noticed that I was waking uptwenty minutes earlier just totalk to you before work, just to hearyour lilting voice flow through my ears andfill my mouth with ideas;And I remember the dew drops kissing my feetwhen you convinced me that it was practically illegalto wear shoes in june and I watched asthe grass pressed hatched patterns into your skinand for a moment I wished that they were my fingersholding you in eternal summer lawns, swan choruses,whirring rollerskates, the smell of peach blossoms;And I remember you blooming and sheddingthe remnants of your cocoon as you pointed outmade-up constellations littering a swelling augu
seastormI,a wreck-age wearingat the sea(m)sof tidal vacancy;I am the ocean, andthe moon hasforsaken me.tocling to reason,I stumbled onabsence stagnant,abrupt. bedridden yetever chas(m)ing, I fell to salt-soakedground from adon’t-leaveprecipice.threewords were all it tookbut all you do is take.I am wakingand I am shakentsunami waves that breakin empty frantic fury;you aregoneforthe briefest reposeor instant of stillness,I yearn; insteadI am abandoned by language,I am bound to languish beneathmountainous (n)ever-resttempests that swell,that quelleven the most desperate of breaksfor the shore.
Sparrows and Train Tracks She listens to the corpse of a wingbeat.The stories of faraway peopleetched on sea glass and flower petals,like legends told for lullabiesprinted with rose thornsin the absence of paper.Do the fingers of clock handshold the questions of children,the way wine kisses guiltand disposable wedding rings?Handmade letters and gift-wrapped packagesresemble the music of a laughterthat isn't really there.How many facesare the reflections of a momentdying in the second of a memory-or the dances in the i love you'sthat you never told me.
love people"We call everything a river here." --Richard Brautiganthere's a love paradethis sundaybeautiful blue and white housesspill children into the streetlike beads of happy colored glass--music all over.the trees are spring,fall, and summer,apricot angelsgreen yellow maplesall love peopletwo moons to a faceI think of a quietpebbled stream in this moonlightand a younger woman,like a single brush of ink,dipping softly,as the pebbled stream dips,into winter, or untimed wild.
Spectraphotons like phantoms cross our pathsunseen except for their effects every poem begins with sometimesevery dream begins with maybe
daughtersmy 5 year old daughter only wants to runthrough the park, loping beside our wolf-puppy,both lean & fierce, joyfulas she tosses her hair back& suddenly I see my bodyin hers, tireless & certain,despite my pounding heart& damaged limbs, I run&run&then she gives for a moment,tumbled full-length in the grass,feeding the puppy from her cupped hands,& demanding, scratch my back too!then down her sides & over the ripplesof her ribcage, her leaping heart& tummy, still baby-soft,until the shadows reach us & Imust give her back, inch by inch,a long, twirling hugmy mother will echo with sad arms,murmuring, you look really good,here, now, when we stand alone,which never means,you lost weight orthat’s a pretty dressonly us, watching her& suddenly gladwe’re alive
five hour energyi supposelast week was only an aftershockof the earthquake you were before.this place used to vibratewith metal strings and melodic,off-key shouting-testimonies to life,emitting coffee-scented moodsand the burn of it too.i had memorized thesounds of silence,a cacophonyso despisedi couldn't help but relish it.no longer had i knownthe sounds of folkand scent of mocha-you became nothing morethan an echo of the laughteri so desperately needed to hear again.then the echoes got louder,bouncing ferociously off the wallsto be made manifestand dissipate.i walked into your roomexpecting exactly what i found-an unmade bed,bare desktops,and an empty beer(the one that you insisted you neededjust days ago).i pressed my noseinto the pillowhoping desperately,begging silentlyfor incense and cologne and starbucksto penetrate my mindand thinking fervently"you bastard,i already knowwhat a clean sheet smells like."it's amazinghow strong an aftershock can be,but st
may as well buy another packcollapse, and breathe into the carpet:sunday mornings are notfor falling apart, but damnthe amphorics, thisis not an atmosphere.you fell in love like you alwayswish you didn't, made all theirsmiles replaceable, interchangeable,fell asleep with shadows and keptdrinking, just letting yourself sleepwith blue pillsand tried not to scream.(keep this image in your head:fire and nectarines, a sudden jerkof realization, inspirationbreaking your neck and leaving you foreverfloating.)breaking bones is not so differentfrom breaking hearts - it's all aboutthe leverage, the angle, the modeof attack(and at least it wasn't personal; it can color in your own guiltfor starting lines and never endingright.)
FloodgatesWe’re lined up as we enter Year Seven.Rulers are pulled out, skirts inspected. Three inches above the knee, no more.Our skirts are millimeters too short. We hope to pass. If we pass, we’re allowed into the house. Those who don’t are sent home so their mothers can mend what’s broken.They scour for torn hems, loose stitches, and find none. But Marissa filled out over the summer, and the back of her skirt rises up her thigh nearly an inch above an appropriate level. We share a knowing glance as she flows out of our line, thrust back into the office where someone will call her mother to gather her. Our mothers taught us to lean back when the ruler passed, to let the hem dip down to the creases of our knees. No one would know. When we pass, we share a silent victory.When they can’t hear us, we whisper about Marissa’s chest, how red splotches cover her nose and cheekbones. We think she won’t come back, girls like her never do, and seventh years a
Nine TimesI saw him nine times.The first time we were both sitting in the room together, getting ready to take the math test that would determine our placement. I was scatterbrained and throwing things around, trying to find the pencils that I had known I would need but had still just tossed in my purse. He was lounging backwards in his chair, looking for all the world as though he didn’t have a single care in the world, including the upcoming test. It annoyed me, that I was frantic and ready to scream, while someone else could be that relaxed.I tested out of the class. I don’t know if he did.The second time I saw him, it was a few months after I arrived on campus. He was the one rushing and frantic this time, running across the square. He was probably late for class, though I had no way of knowing for sure. I was already lost in my own thoughts and ideas, deciding on my major and convincing people that yes, this is what I really want to do with my life. If they weren
Stories about our fatherOur father is fourteen in this storyso we must imagine him young and slimand short-shorted,bobbing on his toes, the quiverof his racquet like the quiverof a cat’s tail.We’ve seen our father play before,sitting courtside with our action figuresand paper dolls,deadened to the minor explosionsof balls striking asphalt.But we are surprised now by theanimal sharpnessin his face, his eyes moving the tight loopfrom court to net to opponentand back again.And it occurs to usthat we haven’t occurred to him.Our father is pre-marital,pre-paternal –his world blazes between thesewhite-painted lines. But soon we look where our father won’t:To the stands whereour boy-faced uncles jeerbeside our grandmother, thin and erectwhere we know hersoft and stooped.She raises a hand to the metallic crest ofher hair and calls out,David! What’s the score!And it is understandable to usthat he pretends not hear.That his shoulders twitc
Glass MemoriesDearly Beloved,Hey, love, it’s me again. It’s winter now – the icy wind throws itself at these stained cinderblock walls but to no avail; a wall works both ways.A year has passed since I last spoke with you – a year already! No, I’m sure it was yesterday – a Monday.I never did like Mondays.I remember where we met. In the subway. You were the last to board a crowded train, I stood up as the wheels began to creak, glancing at you as I did so and nodding ever so slightly towards the empty seat. You laughed and called me a gentlemen, tucking those few strands of honey-colored hair behind your ear. Your nails were painted blue. Light blue. Like the sky.The mass of people gradually thinned out as we neared the end of the route, until you and I were the only ones left in that car. We sat awkwardly next to each other – you twirling your hair and I fiddling with the buttons on my shirt cuff. I don’t know why I didn’t get up and move.I
CaitlinLike Escher's hands,You and IFashion one another,Lovingly,Into being.
FaeriefireWe all hid when the faeries dueled.You and I were in the closet, wishing to each other half-secretly among the motes that the duels could be rare as dragons, at least. Instead they were only rare as quarter-moons.Ground liquifies, sometimes, during a duel. The stars brighten and fall faster, leaving holes in the ground and setting forests alight. The sun hides in a bird’s nest, they say.We did not see when the damage was done. We were accustomed to avoiding to know even the names of those who fought. Our eyes were far from windows.But duels always ended the day after they began, and we stepped out as if we were free.Your eyes caught the light first, and when I followed them my air caught in my throat. Like going underwater without the protection of a mermaid.That day our world was on fire. The glass of the town hall had melted to colorful puddles on the ground. Some houses were gone - some people too, I realized. Surviva
five.Five is the number of times you worry he’s stopped breathing, as the surgeons carve around his heart, twisting away the plaque ridden arteries, and pulling a vein out of his leg. Five is the number of heart wrenching hours you and your family were waiting in the hospital room, worried that your lives would crumble, that there would be five members of the family instead of six, that five days out of the week he would not come home for dinner, that five kisses from him would no longer be given to his wife and four children. Five was the amount of fingernails you bit off while watching people enter and exit the waiting room, and the amount of minutes your mother spent on the phone, explaining that something was wrong. Five is the critical difference between holding a father’s hand as your mother cries into his heart shaped pillow. The difference between rejoicing and smiling weakly because he’s okay or carrying your father’s American-flag-covered-casket and watchin