Switchback

And just like that

I’m back on the switch,

feet dangling over the edge,

the trampoline below

a milky fog beckoning

in hushed tones

 

                jump

 

the sky always opens in those moments,

its Jericho jaw swallows

the last kiss of regret

on my lips

as it steers me to Jordan

 

my thoughts of you span

the wings of condors

like black silk cutting through

the mist of that final morning

in Georgia, before

 

I don’t listen to the valley’s echo

any more than I listen to my own heart

 

01-30-19

 

 

 

 

 

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Corners

I used to crouch in the dark

as if no one could see the light

trapped in my eyes

 

if I stayed down

no one would know

who put me there

 

when I finally saw you

when I really saw you

I realized I didn’t want to

back you into a corner

like she did to me

 

I wanted to bleed out

in vibrant, sunset red so you could see

how beautiful I could be

 

I am always scared

I keep pace with mice in cupboards

and blush when the sun steals glances

because I went without it

for so many years

 

yet here you are

in a room without blinds

and a house without corners

 

01-28-19

 

 

 

 

 

Feather

Another bird wearing

a prayer on each feather

 

Just like a dream,

but here I am in a seedy hotel bed,

another paper cup of bitter brown,

a tear in each pull

 

I used to lock fingers with the oak

in our front yard.

Today I locked eyes with that chesty hawk

and then with that wine-stained woman

wearing three decades of grief

 

She gave me six years with her stare

and I held her gaze like the oak

held my hand before I knew

how to hold my own

 

Now I hold my own

so I can hold hers, too

 

1-13-2019

Home

My eyes swell in a watery fog

imagining mammoths drowning in black tar bogs

Frantic limbs reaching for

the familiarity of home,

the final vision of that place as you sink

 

Sometimes when I’m sinking

I tilt my chin and discover the color blue

as if I had never seen it before.

As if I had lived my whole life

through tinted lenses and

god herself had broken them before me just now.

A final breath sits in my lungs

waiting for me to release it

 

When I finally let it go

I am on solid ground again

and I know that vision of home

every mammoth sees just before

its goes limp and accepts that

it was just a feeling,

the one I feel right now

as I go still

 

That is why I don’t fight anymore

I just let storms chase me

and fill my lungs with tar and

paint the whole world black when I cough

 

Because when the sky clears,

you can wipe up your mess

with the back of your sleeve,

and you realize you’ve never seen color like this,

not really.

 

01-06-2019

 

Quiet

“Go gather the kindling”

I stomp off into the brush,

knobby knees knocking me off kilter,

greasy hair matted to my neck.

This place has been scoured and smells

of sour milk and burnt plastic,

but I like that I can race my thoughts

around the pavement on training wheels

(I’m too old, but who has time

to teach a little one balance and courage

when you yourself are struggling to find it?)

 

You don’t speak except to remark every so often

on the splendor of the stars,

or that skunk that nearly

marooned our hard-fought fire.

What I wish I could tell you

is that I see the years to come.

I know we still won’t speak,

but we will always have these river grounds

in the recesses of our hearts

That quiet place where we COULD be quiet

Where screaming didn’t permeate 

our every cell and kill the calm.

 

I always thought of you as a snared rabbit

and I was some patch of parsnip 

waiting for you to notice me

so I could be your sustenance,

however small.

Daughter in the details.

It’s not so much that I was overlooked

so much as you were trapped.

We all were.

 

Someday you will find me

You will say I have grown

And I will say you are free.

 

01-04-19

 

 

 

 

 

Enough

I am overripe

soft at the nape

hard at my core

I am too much too little too juicy too dry too pruned too bruised too fleshy too bare

too

I was left on frozen ground

but still I am warm enough

to melt memories into pennies

and throw them in your well,

wishing you could see what I have always been

enough

 

01-02-19

Water

I grabbed the water

It dripped and slipped

through fleshy, wrinkled routes

while each finger thought “10 and 2”

as if safe ever meant security

I chewed my cheeks

and wished some stiff bristles

would hug the insides of my teeth

and cleanse my speech long enough to be heard

 

maybe I’d rather be in the rain

instead of catching it

 

12-20-18

un ravel ing

the thread fed through

the eye of the needle,

needed and depleted

shouting down the corridors

of her own throat

 

“pull it together, don’t choke now”

 

SUCCESS

a Venetian courtesan

bare back basking in the white heat

for the amusement of an elementary imagination

 

tired of being twisted,

patching broken brains

aching since pulp

 

meanwhile, the world folds and

seeks the safety of her back pocket,

 

“carry me, steady me”

 

but she’s

u    n      r a   v     e     l    i         n     g

 

10-23-18

My Own Witch

You can fill my mouth with flowers

so that when I speak, my tulips part

and paint your ears with your favorite colors

You can hold me in the roughs of your palms,

my soft skin like the fleece we use to cape our naked bodies,

and keep me in the space between two worlds

Sometimes, when I see a Monarch, my memory flutters

and I can’t escape the tears I wiped from your face that morning

I wish I could fly away

but the truth is, I wasn’t to born to sit

My mother taught me how to bewitch my own heart

so that when it beats for you, it beats harder for the world

so that when I look into the pits of my sullen eyes

I know just how to wrap my soul in bandages

and smile at the child hiding in my strides

Forward. For her. For you.

 

10-10-18

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