Messes

Did I love you

Or did I love my reflection

Fragmented/Split

I learned how to say sorry this year

I hear children are usually taught it

But I was never a child

And I never had parents

Sometimes I stay in bed

And wish for something unfamiliar

I plant flowers now

When I water them,

I remember to take a drink 

You should see the house

Linda the neighbor said it’s lovely

Linda is lovely

Still, dirt stays in my fingernails

So when I hold myself, I feel grounded

I leave messes

Because I don’t want to be clean

I don’t want anything to end

I did love you

04-10-21

Ammunition

Decades of hiding in mirrors,

diving into deep ends

and drowning in drink one,

two, six, eight

I don’t know who I am

Do you hear me?

I never had the chance

When there is never silence

you create it

You swallow your tears and your dreams

and let everyone speak for you

You spend every waking hour trying to piece together

why you are now made of ammunition

explosive and cold

All you want is to be held

but you rip into your own flesh

until you’re unrecognizable

and you force them to tell you

what you already know

Then you lie down

and hope you never find the strength

to stand up

02-07-21

Steel Shingles

Sometimes I think it’s either Vice President or driving off a cliff

Chapped nipples and overqualified at the front desk

Or pantsuit and laureate

Glass ceilings shatter and

shake the steel shingles above them,

Still the world screams

“See! She did it! She is amazing!”

Yes she is

They are

They always have been

Passed over for a white man

With his trust funds and his racism and his allegations

They’ve all sacrificed their dreams for the good of family, society, self

Preservation

But you never see it

You toast a drink when they’re behind the podium

She swells with pride

Then she drowns in the pillow

1/21/21

Rough Drafts

The impetuous screeching of cicadas,

suffocating Ohio summers with

their cries for attention

every seventeen years

like teenage hyenas at Head Row

desperately seeking prey

in the shadows

of disheveled baseball diamonds,

dust-ridden and ravenous

 

We like to believe

we can timestamp

high noon,

radiant and thick

with promise

 

But we are all bugs

buzzing with life

only to wane at first frost,

leaving crumpled carcasses

and rough drafts

rather than legacies

 

7-20-20

Rest Now

Mouth running like mascara,

hair tucked securely in the past,

she reaches for me with dewdrop skin

though it’s still not safe

 

Rest now

 

He shifts in bed until his feet,

now thick with summer heat,

hang just out of reach like forgiveness

 

I plant his brittle spine

into a nest of pillows

like a baby bird and he squawks

 

Rest now

 

Wiping the lunch from his face,

I think of how we are all children

taking leaps of faith

even after science shows us

that clouds aren’t beds of cotton

 

Rest now

 

Fly later

 

 

7-9-20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another

A familiar feeling

A familiar tone of voice

It’s soft and even

As you leave a message

For her to digest later,

As if it’s something she can pass

As if it’s something you’ve already chewed


“Another one?”

Yes. Another.

 

Another kid turned man,

Cigarette in hand no matter

How many times you tried to put it out

Another laugh rippling through the cosmos,

Ripping through a family like heavy wind and rain


Because even laughter is a storm

Once it’s a memory

It’s all loud and grey and uncontrollable

And no matter how many times you’ve seen it happen

No matter how many ways you saw it coming,

You’re never prepared

6-15-19

George Floyd

can you plead with a knee

when there is no heart above it?

 

there was a heart below it,

that loved

that lived

that wept

as the world watched

another white man

steal a black man’s life

 

5-27-2020

 

 

 

 

 

Mother

bathe me

clothe me

steady my timid feet

before I till the soil

and plant my own garden

 

someday I will

bathe you

clothe you

steady your feeble feet

and lead you

back to the garden

so you can rest

 

5-10-20

Periphery

Tired

the kind of tired

where even your ribs ache

from holding it in

 

I breeze through a cemetery

where dandelions push

their blonde heads

toward the sun

to remind us

that life goes on

 

Even though I am not ready to move on

I have already watched you fade

into the old you and grieved

at the foot of a stranger’s plot

 

I am tired of losing you

So I leave you here, where I can visit

and remember the times when your eyes

kept me in focus

and forget the times when

they pushed me

into the periphery

 

5-10-20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If

It is no longer when

but if

I’ll ever see you again

 

Nothing is guaranteed

so I cuddle the dog

and stare at the pregnant neighbor

as I wash the dishes

 

I wonder what it’s like

to bring new life into a dying world

She rakes the soil

to prepare for spring

and waits

for the birth of a new chapter

 

On gray days,

I think of the sun laden afternoons

in Yellow Creek

before I jumped ship

and learned to love a new town

and every man who would let me

 

The uncertainty was thrilling,

but this time it’s different

 

it’s grief-soaked and lonely

and infinite and screams if

until I forget there ever was a when

 

All I know today is I love you

If and when and always

 

4-23-20

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