2010s · Poetry · The Unnamed Algorithm

Night Swimming as Ceremony

I didn’t respect her
she was terrible at her job
we were grateful when she was gone
it annoyed me that she wrote her name
on the cover of my booksthat none of her sets were complete
that she left a mess behind

but then……she was really gone
all those psychological stresses
were physical and actual disease

I didn’t watch it happen
the last face I saw was a constant
frantic-edge state
dark-circled and worn
she reminded me of my mother
in her darkest times

the numb fail-safe state
I learned as a child kicks in
I feel nothing………for her

only for her children—
the ache of those young hands
the sink of those feet
the electric……..quiet
left beside her husband
I can’t feel the lost
only the left

the dark placid eyes
I know as well as swimming
how ache becomes a sea
breath-holding under black skies

I’d pour out her ashes where
she left her children swimming


First appeared on Ishaan Literary Review

2000s · Poetry · Unanchored


There will be no funeral.
No ritual ceremony to close this story.
I loved you. I did.
I swear it over sacred things.
It’s dying. Suffocated and left to starve.
This precious fragile entity is a waif of a memory.
It waits to leave this life,
Hardly holding breath.
I used to feed her. Bring her fruits.
Bring her grains and sustenance.
There will be no funeral.
No condolences. No sympathetic cards.
We will die quietly. You will not visit.
You will not see this as a God sent gift.
You will hold to principles and assumptions.
You will allow time to consume us.
Time will erode what we fail to nourish.
It will die of suffocation.
I am suffocating. I am wilting.
You will walk on by. You will go.
To your priorities. To your well planned life.
I weep and mourn for death.
There will be no funeral.
You pruned this off your burden.
This will not be certified. Just gone.
I don’t know what your love means.

Originally published in We All Bleed the Same, 10-3-13