red sneakers

the only rain

that winter day

was dotted on the grass.

my shoes were wet

but my feet weren’t cold.

they should have been.

the gray

made the green look

brighter and i didn’t see

everything was wilting.

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the regular

In the Starbucks drive-thru

I almost order

a Venti London Fog,

just to be warmed by something

that you still love.

anatomy I

I broke your hands
open, and all I found were bones
where you said I would see
gold. Carpals, metacarpals,
but certainly no Midas joint
where your veins intersect
with your tendency to think
too highly of your sweating
palms. The palms that touched
my face once, twice, three times
too hard for any fake diamond
skull to bear. But I think
I only wanted you more, even
knowing all I’d find was marrow
where precious little
metal should be.

Attn: The husband I married too young

lettng-go

I bought this postcard because it reminded me

of you. The way you floated, struggling,

into my heart. The way you still cling,

frenzied (as much as you can be), to my arms

when I lay next to you in bed at night.

 

I bought this postcard because it reminded me

of the first time we fucked. Had sex. Made love.

Because I did love you underneath

the branches of the trees in a city

park. We floated on waves of the grass.

 

I bought this postcard because it reminded me

of me. The way I was caught

between a sea of grass where you lay, familiar,

and the dark, unknown limbs

above my head.

 

I wrote this postcard because I couldn’t

remember the last time I wanted to make

love. Have sex. Fuck

our life with one too many picket fences

built before I knew the suburbs

 

weren’t for me. I couldn’t send this postcard

because I knew you would understand.

Botany 101 (or divorce for children)

How do you explain
to a 6-year-old,
(whose tiny hands brought you
a mug of lukewarm tea
when you were sick, whose
dark eyes know only love
in its purest form)  

that you were just a bible-born
sprout who didn’t know any way
but down the aisle

that growing up can
mean growing root-bound
in our small terra-cotta pots

that sometimes grownups break
each other’s terra-cotta hearts
but mostly we’ll break hers

that shattering the one thing
holding us together is the only way
to fully bloom

that sometimes love
is the only thing tangling your roots
together, matted and slowly starving.

13 ways of looking at her hand

After Wallace Stevens. But better.

 

I

If her palms could tell the future

I would hold her

hand like a crystal ball.

 

II

Her hand lives in infamy

where myths grown on languid trees

are harvested and mulled

into wine for the common people.

 

III

Dew from heaven fell

from between her legs,

before her hand held

the new breath of joy

and fear.

 

IV

An eye in the middle of her hand

looked god in the face

and said no.

 

V

A cross tattoo on the middle finger

of her hand.

 

VI

“How did you learn to dance?”

I sang with devils and Olympus

where Athena taught me to

sway like a warrior to the music

of her hand.

 

VII

Lovers held her hand

sitting on a park bench

but before the sun set

she had to learn

to hold her own.

 

VIII

I sleep with one arm

over my eyes

and a star beneath my pillow.

Her hand sleeps

clenched around

my lungs.

 

IX

He said her hand

was a pipe dream.

But it was actually

a nightmare.

 

X

Her hand

flies with tigers

and moonbeams.

 

XI

27 bones

17 muscles

5 fingers

in her immeasurable

hand.

 

XII

If scars tell stories

her hand

is a minstrel.

 

XIII

The current is swift,

her hands must be strong

to swim with the fish.

i fell

i fell like summer dusk does

with so much in between 


the sun’s eyes and moon’s lips

both so bright, separated

by the time i watched you 
laugh

behind a cup of coffee

or when i drank your crisp mojito

because you were driving

me 
somewhere, i don’t know

i don’t think i’ll ever return.

 

i fell like summer dusk does

your sunfire hair floating 
across

my sky as it turned

orange, purple, blue 
and

ocean-black. i went 
adrift,

wandering or wondering 


not even a holy light

to guide me before

i realized your eyes were fireflies

your fingers moonbeams

dancing gently across my arms.

 

i fell like summer dusk does

looking up to find 
my lungs tangled

in the branches

with owls 
as playmates

and mosquitos 
pecking

silently at their resolve,

i looked down to find

your hand carrying mine 


like it had been there

since before the trees.

 

i fell like summer dusk does

realizing i’d never seen

this brush-stroke sky before.

i know why god said

it is good.

I once peeled

off my skin and put it in a Mason jar.

The rusted cap kept out the stories

when it lived on my bookshelf

next to the picture of us on our wedding day.

 

I thought my lungs, exposed,

would expand past my open ribs to

become a sinking zeppelin made of titanium and our future.

But instead, they outgrew my body and

burst into sunshine and sounded like butterflies.

 

I thought my heart, falling from my chest,

would explode into the earth, tunnel

through stone and turn

to soil with the worms and beetles

that lived in the garden behind our first house.
But instead, it became a hummingbird

sipping nectar from blossoms before

flying into tomorrow’s moon.

 

I once pulled

out my skin from a dusty Mason jar.

The rusted zipper stretched

from my ankle to my neck

as I stepped back into my shell,

now softer and full of holes.

When the bitch said ‘no’

When the bitch said ‘no’

She’s a tiger, flying
strawberry with cloud stripes.

Spear-cut teeth, she shreds flesh
into ribbon paper lilies.

Her paper mache claws bury bodies
of atrophied tree bridges.

Zeppelin lungs breathe her flame
into sunscape funeral pyres.

Her sniper swift tail preys
on the courage of prairie winds.

The magic in her every stalking prowl
fashions mountains of broken glass.

She’s a tiger, flying away
from cages and crystal roofs.