the dry leaves dance,
but the earth stands still


a hesitation


like one last squeeze of Mother’s hand
before taking the teacher’s

while the fog is crisp
and the sun is soft,
the mornings drag
like stale cigarettes
in a prison guard’s mouth,




as the world falls,
she soaks in hot springs,
shedding summer’s robe
and painting in brilliant
gold and then white

only for you to stain her canvas
with fumes and false promises




Barelegged and braless,

stargazing at the wall,

waiting for

a burning ball of gas

to sweep me into a vacuum

where the air is so thin

that my brain can’t

find it


“How does that make you feel”

they would ask

and I’d say “weightless”


for now, though, it’s all heavy

and my eyes are falling in

so I can’t see the starlight


only a wall







Another Bird Poem

If I was a bird

I’d fly as effortlessly

as she pulls on his heart

and watch him watch her

through the clouds


There are other wings

he’s fixed

but he’s never had to bandage hers

so I wonder sometimes

if he sees me as wounded

or if someday he could look up

and see me

in the same sky



Shattered Glass

Sometimes shattered glass still cuts my brain

and you see me wince like the child I was

when I went running through the tall grass

with snakes and ticks and spiders

who made better company

than the venomous tongues in the kitchen


Resolution was a closed door

and three young girls

talking about tomorrow behind it


Peaceful were the days when I foraged for

shredded cheese and ketchup sandwiches

and raced the dogs to the creek


Heavenly were the days when I visited

my friend in the trailer park

and we sang Shania on the trampoline

while her mom made us macaroni

(she always asked if I wanted seconds)


Now I nod along to J.D. Vance

but you can’t understand where we’ve been

and how hard it is to throw away the white trash

that we’ve collected in heart-heavy landfills,

our memories like landmines exploding

with a mere whiff of mildew

or the sound of shattered glass on linoleum floors






Speak Up

how do I talk to a river

when I am an ocean,

pushing and pulling,

swelling but never

reaching the mouth


you are constant and strong

most days I am quiet and calm,

but some days I rip through

my own flesh to break free of the tide


how could you ever understand

the storm that bites my heels

or why I never left it at the riverbanks

where I sought any semblance

of love or strength or presence

to stifle my little voice


I thought I was preserving it

but I think I may have lost it

somewhere in a prayer


so how do I talk to a river

now that I am faithless




The sauvignon blanc fills his mouth and
his eyes burn blue and gray and bright
as the kitchen’s light

He crafts his incite like a carpenter,
filling my ears with the sawdust of a previous life,
but all I can hear is “A Case of You”
And I finally understand what Joni meant

I have always collected rain water
but I have never stood out in a storm
with my mouth and eyes wide open,
watching my future light up the sky
in shades of blue and gray

I have never been this sober

and I have never been so in love with the rain


Sucking teeth

that last inhale

just before the rain clears

sucking teeth

to dry the leaves

and call the fireflies

out of the grasses


and after the earth exhales

there’s only the stillness

of wet pavement

and the vapid efforts

of bald tires,

extended like the Creation of Adam

with no solace from God or turf

no direction or pull of the moon

no outstretched hands


only the asphalt vapors

waving at the headlights,

watching the cars pass by

















tight chest, juice pressed

from the fruit of my labor

and its rotting skin


do you remember

blades of grass under

small feet?

the world spinning by

on the merry-go-round?

we laughed and jumped

and felt our bones crack

for the first time.

it was never a thought

until we were motionless


the whirring world

carries on but with

less laughing and

more cracking of the whip.


nothing is broken

but something is always spinning





Stalking the sun,

it paints the dirt before me

like a reckless Pollock


The colors splatter

against the trees

and freckle my skin


Birds cry out for attention

and I give it to them

(you say I have a hard time saying no)


I have always chased the light

as if it’s something to be caught


But what difference does it make

if it steals my eyes

when I see how the world could be

and not how I have known it



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