2010s · Poetry

How Quiet Kills

I speak you to the wind
and she carries the notes
of your name to the sky
I stand, hands empty
waiting for god
to speak you
back into my chest
but there is only
white
noise
blurred whispers
of everything
layer upon layer
of sound traffic
I speak again but find
no voice, no music
just cold
hands
open

First published in Spectrum: An Anthology of Southern California Poets.

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2010s · Poetry

If Poetry Is Parked Car

My heart is bottom-pink
and raw, not knowing
how many beats to give
beats to exhale

All words crowd into the soft
spaces, roof of my mouth
cutting inside cheeks
rolling off lips

All quiets are questions
my voice too loud
my hands too clumsy

How do I protect you
when I’ve just been born?
When my spit edges
in the corners of your drink?

I’m dumb, backseat fumbling
legs over knees
arms over shoulders

If my skin in moonlight
is softest, how do your hands
melt into my scars?

First Published in Carnival Lit.

2010s · Poetry

Good Friday Morning

You, cocked smile
and smirking eye
come down into my open
waiting like a teenaged sunbather
happy to risk the burn

You shadow me warm
with sentinel arms
my hands will not
rebel against you
both of us clinging
to this fragile ease

Tomorrow you return
to the gnawing thirst
lock me outside while
you fight those demons
eating at your skin

I return to the fullness
of poetry and fire-fed dreams
empty of your shadows
empty of skin-fueled
present tense

First published in Carnival Lit.

2010s · Poetry

Sediment

I’ve been sifting you for weeks
but there is no gold in your sediment
pebbles smooth against my tongue
I bed in your silver-grey sand
sleep in the warmth of your current
I keep losing daylight hours
forget my quest for real worth
I need to get up, get feet forward
find the strike to wealth me old
foolish river, with your glittering light
I won’t find gold in your sediment

First published in Carnival Lit.

2010s · All the Tiny Anchors · Poetry

To Agree Philosophically

It’s not enough that
we have a million things in common
that we can talk for hours
about our favorite bands
and Miyazaki movies like art

It’s not enough that
we agree philosophically
on religion and God
and an unknown purpose
that I respect your convictions
even if they seem ridiculous

It’s not enough that
I can be myself with you
a girl-child at 37
sullen or cynical
giddy and intentional

That I get you
when you see things
no one else does
when your voice drops low
I know what that means

It’s not enough that
we are nostalgic and sentimental
that we are adventurous
in the mundane things
that I just don’t want to go yet
that I feel at home with you

It’s not enough that
I have all the want in the world
when you don’t say
when you don’t show
what you want from me

First Published in Katenhatz (Bank Heavy Press).

2010s · Poetry

Monkey Bars & Golden Spokes

Let’s go back
to when you hung
on my words like monkey bars
when you sighed the first time
you ever kissed me,
gave me lottery winning eyes
when you kissed me again

Go back before
my words hung
like bars around your cell
before you clenched
your teeth
at the sound
of my need

Go back when
you studied the curves
of my mouth
sent me to work
each morning
with a tongue
full of blessing

Go back before
every word
had to be measured
and weighed
before an honest response
could mean
I may never again see
the golden spokes
of your irises

Back to when
we were both
eager passengers
Back before
our feet were heavy
with hesitation

Back when
we knew nothing
Back before
we could not forget

First Published in Drunk Monkeys.

2010s · Poetry

Funeral for Bees

I walk into swarming bees
to taste your honey. I
swallow sweet and sting
and comb alike. The hum
of your buzz and buzz
of your hum sticks golden
in my chest. The queen is
dying. You scratch and
mourn and bury her still
alive. Watch her wings
crush from collapsing
earth. You sing her floral
song with your failing
hands. I follow your
procession. Sway with
the bee-death dance. It’s
the corners of your eyes I
want to kiss now. Lick
every last drop.

First published on velvet-tail.

2010s · How to Unexist · Poetry

Love Letter No. 3: To My Mending Self

You may begin to miss the grieving
the adrenaline heart thrashing in your ribcage
the coughing lungs asking permission to breathe
You may begin to hear all the quiets
humid silence scratching
each day confirming
this is it
this is all it will ever be

You may begin to miss the panic of hope
tangled in his kite strings
miss the fight, the battle, the bruise
miss kissing blood from rope-burned hands
You may begin to sleep through the night
to lack rebuttal
to forget to answer back

You may begin notice
the crevices in your wrists
the uneven scurry
of a black beetle across concrete
notice the sound of lead scraping paper
how it curls to the rub of an eraser
disappears like it was never there
to begin with

First Published in Indiana Voice Journal.

2010s · How to Unexist · Poetry

Girl in Flight

I envy the girls
with light filled wings
They fly from breeze to breeze
pouring beams from their teeth
All men audience them
eat their smiles like candy
They breathe in love—
they breathe out love
No man ever
centers their universe

I could not be that girl for you
one with laughing eyelashes
smooth cheeks glossed
for kissing and leaving
kissing and leaving

I am unwinged, gravity locked
in oceans—not sky
teeth for crushing chains
eyes fire-fed
to burn through hurricanes

My love is anchor
my love is whale song
my love is sandpaper grit
galaxies inside pearl
volcanoes under mountain

My love does not breeze—
but tunnels into mantle
burrows into core
You want a girl in flight
laughing eyelashes
but I am unwinged gravity

First published in Indiana Voice Journal.

17 Poems Not About a Lover · 2010s · Poetry

Oceans Once Receded

I was a desert woman
who learned to live on cactus boys
learned to run at night and sleep all day
knowing the burn of sky and sand

Then you came with your oceans
rivers, lakes, and waterfalls
I dove in, eyes closed
hoping you’d teach me to swim
hoping to learn your whale songs

I threw away my land shoes
swam under the stars
let my skin pucker in your waves
my desert plants were drowning
I let them bloat and drift away

Then your tsunami receded
first sudden, then steady and slow
I stood naked in your mud bed
for weeks with dripping hair,
dripping hands refused to dry

I learned to pray to wet earth
give thanks for saltwater baths
learned to hear your voice
in the night bird songs

Until even the mud left
took its soft clay from between my toes
the caked earth in my hair
began to dry and crumble
desert wind wiped all traces
of salt from my cheeks

I push myself back into desert shade
live in the evening light
I can never return to cactus fruit
when I’ve fed on fields of phytoplankton
I’ve lost the taste for prickly boys
so I may wither for a while

Until at the edge of some moment
in the pale space between sun and moon
I might hear the sound
of water rushing

First Published in Element(ary) My Dears.