17 Poems Not About a Lover · 2010s · Poetry

Both Wolves and Sheep Alike

When you look at your sunlight child
baby girl with rainbow eyes
deep dimpled cheek to store your kisses
When you look at her wind-chime twirling
throwing her perfect young mouth
at your carpenter hands
How do you not lock them
around her kitten-soft body
throw her up on mountaintop shoulders
march through clouds, place her safe
far out of reach from giants, ogres
and demons with sweating jaws
How do you not gather armies
to fight in her name
at the mere thought of bruised knees
How, instead, do you wear lambs’ robes
pull her into your ice den
with your hands at her throat
cut words into her belly
fill her with stones
lay her in the river
as the hunter’s trumpet sounds
leave her in the current
let her bleed for decades
to grow old hating
both wolves and sheep alike
How then, do you howl at the moon
when your sunlight child turns black
when she cuts all parts of you off her skin
spits your dead-leaf name from her mouth
How do you howl at the moon
when she lets all her memories of you rot into soil
lets fungus eat all cells inked with your DNA
How do you not throw your own wolf body
into the river—kill the only beast she knew
before she grew claws of her own


First Published in East Jasmine Review.

2010s · Poetry

Drawing Maps for the Lost

I learned the names of all my family demons
gave them faces instead of shadowing ache
bottled them in jars of science
labeled, set in rows on the shelf
But the devil,

I sat down for dinnerfed him chicken soup for his soul
He drank for days and months
and now, we live like roommates
share the kitchen and household chores

I am not naive—
I know his claws are sharp
and his teeth still bleed
I sleep now
with only a pen at my bedside

But always leave a light on
in case he feeds       on the dark

First published in East Jasmine Review.

2010s · Conversations with Gravel · Poetry · The Unnamed Algorithm

Scent Stained

You are the mistake I want to make
I will wrap myself in your red flags
and let you peel them off
one silk layer at a time

You are the regret I want to have
I’ll bind you in my caution tape
lay on a bed of warning signs
cold metal against warm skin
cools your burning in my eyes

You are the fucked up mess
I want to roll around in
like a mud happy dog
drenched in your scent
I will not shake you out

How do you unsense me?

(First published in East Jasmine Review)

2014 · Poetry · The Unnamed Algorithm

Dust Universe

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.

2014 · Poetry · The Unnamed Algorithm

The First Him

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.

2015 · Publications

East Jasmine Review Volume 2 Issue 4

East Jasmine Review Volume 2, Issue 4 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.

2010s · Poetry · The Unnamed Algorithm

The First Her

It’s always dusk or dawn
in my memory. When I open my eyes,
she smiles or I see laughter in the house
though I know those days were heavy
with labor. She does laundry
in the kitchen while she cooks me eggs.
I will always eat my vegetables for her.
She always moves across this
dimly lit room. If I watch her longer,
the sun must go down. It gets
very dark for days, dark for years.
I can hear her hum, though I never
remembered her humming.
I am so small and hate to have
my hair brushed. She is every
thing that connects me
to this earth. She gives me
folded clothes to put away: my rainbow
t-shirt sparkling glitter in my hands.
Her long straight hair is perfect,
a hippie part down the middle,
always pulled back in a loose ponytail.
I remember plants in the window sills,
long green and yellow leaves.
I don’t remember how
she cared for them.
She cleans other
people’s houses, burns
her hands on the chemicals.
I will climb her ladders,
I will hold her razor blades
on my fingertips. No one
will notice these scars until I show them.

First published in East Jasmine Review.

All the Tiny Anchors · Books · Publications

Review of All the Tiny Anchors in East Jasmine Review

The newest issue of East Jasmine Review, Vol. 2 Issue 3, includes a wonderful book review by K. Andrew Turner of All the Tiny Anchors. Two of them poems in the book, “Words in Stone and Liquid” and “The Truth of My Skin” were first published in EJR earlier this year. I am deeply honored that Mr. Turner wrote such generous words about the book. He covers each of the four sections to show the story arch. He also quotes specific lines from the poems to illustrate his points, which makes it feel so much more personal. Please check out all the issues of East Jasmine Review. (They are all currently on sale for less that coffee at Starbucks!)

If you’d like to get our own copy of All the Tiny Anchors, you can buy it directly from Sadie Girl Press or find it on Amazon.


2010s · All the Tiny Anchors · Poetry

Words In Stone and Liquid

You said “I love her”
sitting cross-legged in front of me
on the side of the trail, under
that tree where we’d once kissed
like frenzied lovers. The same words
I’d held between my teeth,
circling for weeks waiting
for the space to lay them down.

I thought your words were liquid soap
in the cups of your fingers where
you washed my hair with them,
dragged them across my shoulders,
down the valley of my spine, and deftly
through the inlets of my toes.

How you said those words with your voice
seemed too easy, a well-worn sweater
pulled on in the dark. They formed
on your tongue like weighted olive
branches reaching out. Her name
was old-familiar from those books
you shoved back behind your shelf.

So I laid out my own pebbled words
neatly in rows and columns, though
they would never wash your skin,
only seep in this soil where, like
a hundred times before, I sat
across from you cross-legged.


First published in East Jasmine Review, also included in All The Tiny Anchors.

2010s · All the Tiny Anchors · Poetry

The Truth of My Skin

Pores in my skin once
empty are now full of black
coarse hairs. Growth once fine

and translucent, now
pushes out beyond the surface,
my body in rebellion of my mind

Cells on my left eyelid
multiply fast in an unmatched race
against the right, laying in tiny folds

along the crease, I cannot
blink them out or tuck them in
they will not let me lie about

my time on earth
There are scars on my knees
fading slow, sinking into the white

clarity of neighboring skin
They are forcing me to forget you—
to forget what—to forget where I last

held proof of it
Maybe it’s time to allow age
to love wisdom more than sorrow

My skin has shed entirely ten times
and again since the last time
your breath knew it

First published in East Jasmine Review, also included in All the Tiny Anchors.