A poem I wrote for my niece to welcome her into womanhood.
Because I know he is home-seeking and hungry.
Because I see the fragility of eight legs holding tight to porcelain.
Because I once needed to be scooped up from drowning
showers to sunlit window panes.Because when I was nine, I had to break into our motel room on
a Friday night after church.Because my mom forgot to pick me up, but I knew she was just
sleeping inside.Because I didn’t have a key and I was sure she’d be right back.
Because the windows were slats of louvered glass, I could pull
them apart and lay them gently on the asphalt driveway.Because I was small, could slide between three removed slats, and
land on a mattressed floor.Because I’d rather sleep alone in a tiny motel room with navy-blue
carpeted halls leading to the tenants’ communal bathroom.
Because calling my father
was not an alternative.Because I knew my mother would come home soon even after I fell
asleep under a curtain of blankets.Because I knew if I was quiet I could be safe enough.
Because I couldn’t have driven myself home from church or climbed
up the window alone.Because someone had to scoop me up to push me through it.
First published in Gutters & Alleyways: Perspective on Poverty and Struggle.
when sun falls in dim slants
through holes in thin curtains
you can see the universe of dust
they have not traveled here
but revealed by narrow sunbeams
in the quiet light of morning
suddenly, I am afraid to breathe
the enormity of it
billions of particles floating
hovering like microscopic gnats
when I see them swarming
I can’t let them in my lungs
molecules of dead skin and ash
lit up as thick as stars flickering
landing in my living room
I can’t tell anyone how
we are always swallowing
parts of each other
I have to keep it secret
so I open up the curtains wide
for ancient light to swallow
this exact moment in time
and deliver it to the past
First published in East Jasmine Review.
It’s home movies on a reel-to-reel.
Light is always dim, pouring in
from thin covered windows.
He is carpenter, framing houses.
Long days in the sun tan his skin,
make him sleep late on weekends.
We play Ambulance anytime I bump my head,
scrape my shin. He lifts me over his shoulders
and mocks sirens rushing hurried to hospitals.
He lays me down like a patient and makes me giggle,
fingertips under the arms, across the belly.
For seconds, I forget.
I am a laughing four-year-old unafraid.
Until I am not. Until the looming frame of him
scrapes ceilings, pulls in the weight of rooftops
down into the darkest room, windows covered thick.
He does not lock his door. I play the secret game
of Find the place he is not. Stay quiet enough
and he won’t see you close the door.
He will not call after you.
Scratches flicker across film spliced memories
as the reel hums, tick-tick-tick-tick-tick.
First appeared in East Jasmine Review.
Very excited to have a poem published in the newest issue of Yellow Chair Review! “Oil-Black” is one about my grandfather I wrote shortly after his death last year. I had the hardest time setting on revisions for this poem, but decided it was time to send it out into the world. There are many fine poems in this issue, including one from my friend, Jeri Thompson. Enjoy!
I am incredibly honored to be Drunk Monkeys “Writer of the Month” for July. They will be posting five of my poems across the month, the first of which is “Pressboard Salvation“. It’s about a childhood memory when I’d hide under the pews at church. Please enjoy!
The newest issue of In-flight Literary Magazine is out today! I have two very different poems up, “What I Mean When I Say My House Is Now a Park” and “Paint”. One is a memory of my young childhood house that has since been demolished and the other is a lyrical poem. There are many other fabulous poets, including my friend, Don Kingfisher Campbell. Take a few minutes and read a poem for the first day of National Poetry Month!
The new East Jasmine Review is out now! You can download this lovely literary journal for the price of a fancy coffee. It is packed full of amazing authors such as: Sean Gunning, John Brantingham, Kelsey Bryan-Zwick, Natalie Morales, Michael Cantin, and Zack Nelson-Lopiccolo. I am especially happy that two of my poems based around my dysfunctional family, “Both Wolves and Sheep Alike” and “Drawing Maps for the Lost”, are included. You can download it for many e-reader devices or on PDF.
This is really a thing I am doing. Nancy Lynée Woo and I are part of a book club discussion from the National Center for Children in Poverty, which chose our book, Gutter & Alleyways: Perspectives on Poverty and Struggle. Sometimes I still feel like that girl living on the constant edge of chaos, fighting to survive. Then I see this photo of grown up me, all together and stuff. If you have the time to join the discussion on March 18th (11:00 am Pacific Time), I would be honored to share this moment with you. Follow this link to register nccp.org/bookclub.html. It’s not too late to order your copy of the book in time for the discussion if you haven’t already. sadiegirlpress.com/bookstore
I wish I had a sonic screwdriver
I wish I had a magic wand
I wish I had a time machine
or pixie dust or a book of spells
I wish I had a genie lamp
I wish I had the holy grail
I wish I had a flying carpet
or a portal or an Atlantis key
I wish you were three
in the back seat of my car
singing an 80s Cure song
I wish you were sixteen
driving with me to open mic
singing an 80s Cure song
I wish my love was enough
I wish you weren’t there
I wish you and me were anywhere
far and away, anywhere else
Originally published in Carnival Lit Mag, 2014