November 30, 2017

The year I am Mary

in the Christmas pageant, I blush,

      soundless next to my Joseph.

Our baby Jesus, wide unblinking eyes

edged with stiff lashes, reaches a plastic

arm to the ceiling, his mouth gaped

near my chest. My only line:

      Is there room for us at the inn?

The Innkeeper, that boy who

likes me. I can tell because

            he opens the door too fast.

      Did you know ‘manger...

July 22, 2017

We slipped loose of the silvery Sandon Valley

with the blistering clang of your '99 Pathfinder.

I was burnt out on late August

and trying to use up the sunlight

as we wound the heavy green of the truck

up the old logging road.

All around us the walls of mountains were swollen

with the coats of old forest. All the edges

of peaks tailored with needles

of pine, the tops of trees pinned to the sky.

At the wheel, you weathered the storm

of ro...

July 22, 2017

I prodded your pelt, 

shared the soft pain 

of an electric shock – 

the buzz of currents passing. 

I saw 

           (I saw, I think, I saw) 

you once in the forest 

with your back 

arched against 

the rough grain of bark. 

Your milk fur was sweet 

so I twirled you 

in my palms and hummed. 

           Fur bristle; fang drip. 

I tore the raw jag of a fresh scrape, 

dripped your honey...

May 22, 2017

She picks her words like they’re pins from grenades. 

The blasts were last night, but the shrapnel flies 

This morning. It litters my kitchen floor, 

chews chunks from my toes as I enter to 

hear what my phone bleats for. Each lamprey tooth 

carves words from songs we shared on cold mornings 

like this. Her skirt is still in the sink. Her 

last task for me, to clean the mud from its hem. 

May 22, 2017

There’s an innocence in

scissors.

Design means them to

slice

but intent is null for

steel

once it nails limbs to mattress.

She’s here again.

Dust of dusk in skull becomes

open maws

at midnight, singing mourning wails

until mid-morning.

No means

to survive the many-mouthed silences between breaths.

Negation is systemic

among slushed neurons.

Nipping sleep snakes

disorient,

dispel sense and secure psychosis.

No menace to stab at

but noise. 

April 22, 2017

Words strewn, trail across your bedroom.

You’re embarrassed

by your unmade bed—

used to tying perfect knots

for joints, satin sentences unfold

around your tongue.

I bet we could color code your whole bookshelf.

Spines hell-bent on answers to resolve my questions:

I. At what point can you breathe

in incomplete phrases?

II. Tie a sidewalk together

in misplaced steps?

I’ve been told I think too much.

And in you I’d found my match.

Guessing we’...

April 22, 2017

you remember when you were young, when you were eight nine ten eleven, when your mother would take you to the salon, to the little room where they would lay you down and strip you bare spread wax on your body like it was honey.

they would cover your limbs, your armpits, your tummy. flesh bare skin raw, they’d lay down strips of cloth paper and rip the hair out of you, rip it from you as if it was a mistake, as if that’s what it...

April 22, 2017

(March 25th 2004 – New York)

Volunteers ricochet into the city with bright colours in their hands, writing names at every address for the young workers who have died.

East First, Second, Third, Fourth Fifth, Sixth, Eighth Street Ninth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Thirteenth street.

Attorney, Broome, Bedford, Bleecker Street – the Bowery. Commerce, Chrystie, Clinton and Cherry Street.

Delancey,

Division, Essex, Henry, Houston, Ludlow, Mad...

April 7, 2017

your shadow is skinnier than you  taller than you   her
heart has never been broken   she is not real   you are

smell old books   dress yourself in black   put lemon in
your water   & try not to choke
on things that are good for you   green tea & cantaloupe

put picasso prints on your wall   femme chouchée lisant
spend the day in your bed drinking bitter coffee
remember who l...

April 7, 2017

and after he killed himself
you don’t shower for five days,
change your clothes, or brush your hair.
you want to sit shiva, but you’re not jewish,
don’t know what it means.
but for you, grief alone
doesn’t seem like a good enough excuse.

he mentions you in his note
and you know this, not because you read it,
but because someone’s mom told someone
who tells you. and that hurts more
than the death itself.

at the funeral, you sit i...

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POETRY