Day 15 - SiltThere is a downward pull that begins slowly –Forty years of fine red silt cease flowing through your veinsAnd settle like sedimentary rock.Things, and you, begin to taste of copper.Lavender mists condense as you walk out to fetch the paperThe kettle is whistling or the coffee roiling when you return to the kitchen.Your lover is waiting, his beard and hair greying slightly:Sometimes he still kisses you like he did when you were twenty three.You start to spend your evenings in the ochre lightOf sloppily-painted sunsets which begin around the time the theme for Final Jeopardy fades out.Coffee cups are washed, sinks drained.Everything smells of earth and book pages with a hint of Pine-Sol.The window is filled with the amber radiance of marigolds –he likes to garden,While you are more careless, killing houseplants by neglect.You promise to stop disassociating yourself, and to write less in the second person.You get drunk less often and even jog once in a while.Yo
Day 4 - QuietAutumn began and ended quicklySo now the sun sets early and I spend my evenings in the dark.Today’s thoughts are quiet ones -Where we love is where we live and die.
Day 3- North StarIt was dark when I left work today,And I shivered as the wind slid around my bare legs.(shouldn’t have worn a dress today, says the voice in my head.)I try my best to ignore it. I always do.I swear familiarly, angrily, when traffic is backed up at the bridge again –This traffic congested tangled metal thing spanning the riverLike some kind of urban jungle gym.But still it is the northern star of my commute and points the long way home.I’m perched on a stool in his mother’s kitchenWith a mug of orange tea in my hands and a bowl of chicken soup with dumplings in front of me.On the way home, my debit card is declined.I try not to panic.
Day 2 - DetritusI squint my eyes as you kiss my freckled facemy sunstreaked hair out behind me like a bannerAs I emerge from the lake with foam and seaweed clinging to my calves.I make a face. You laugh.Longing is a savory dish we must sit down to dine,even as we cling togetherin a tired knot with mouths that taste of lemonade and alcohol.I whisper in your ear “I don’t want you to go.” The night before we left a storm broke with rain and thunder, and lightning webbed across the sky like lace. I came to where you slept, weaving myself into your arms.This is the detritus of summer:pearlescent driftwood grasped in hands worn down by sand.Filling up our pockets with stones, memories.A wall of tiny meaningful things we build to keep out the coming of the night.There are no secrets here but many mysteriesAnd subtle, half-veiled truths waiting to be made known
Day 1- Cold HandsEveryone said a storm was coming but I did not prepare.Perhaps I was too flippant or afraid to acknowledge?Probably the latter –Avoidance is my middle name.The storm’s precursor:Grey skies, and rain hissing its way up my windshield as the wipers, groaning,Flung it away.A low front settled into my chest midafternoon at the thought of leaving.Now, I sit on the couch by the window, watching the rain fallAs the cold gradually seeps from my limbs and my fingers thaw slowly.But isn’t a blanket a small comfort compared to you,Immediate and present, mouth tasting ofSour apple and blood?
Cemetery LaneDriving down Cemetery Lane Steering wheel gripped tightly, top and bottom, taking sharpCurves,As the radio host mourns the fate of Montana's coal industry.We'd go behind the school with the Grecian columnsIn a parking lot pooled with yellow streetlights, exploringThe darkness my mouth left on your neck.Driving and breaking too fastWith the memory of the way each bend winds around itselfLike solemn ribbons around the tombstones.Lying on a bed far from home Pizza box kicked on the floor and the television flickering with the sound off.I cannot forget the way your skin brushed mine.
MineThe past four years, I have been a nomad,A snail, whose house is wherever her back is.An hourglass constantly turned over and over, measuringTime until I leave, time until I return.I'm packing a bag with my toothbrush, my phone, and my fiancé's shirt to keep me warm i won't be gone long, i only need a few days' worth of clothing.Life doled out in miniscule increments like the vitamins I portion into plastic baggiesAnd forget to take when I am gone.I've tired of living out of packed suitcases and half empty closets,With a roof provided, but my heart somewhere else.Filling out paperwork, what is my address?When is the night where I can go to sleep and feel your arms around me,Waking up to tangled limbs, tousled hair and no bed else to sleep in?Tell me when I can put my bags away, throw out my arms and sayThis is mine.
BrillianceI wasn't sure if I was falling asleep or drowning. Pastor Abilay had just reached the third point of this three-point outline and I was fading quickly. "The devil's 15 minutes," my father often called it. He would sit rigidly at the head of the dining room table after every Saturday dinner and warn us that just as the pastor reaches the place where Scripture is applied to our lives, we start to drift off due to the devil's influence. I always did, and it terrified me.Pastor Abilay's sermons were an odd blend of clinical Calvinistic theology combined with the self-assured charisma of a leader whose word was law. His sermons always made me feel as if I were boxed in by walls of water and left me with a dead weight in my stomach. Just as I thought I couldn't take any more, he concluded the sermon and we moved on to the final singing. The presenter came to the front of the stage, hummed a few bars of the next Psalm, and we all began to sing. The song rolled in a rich four-part harmony tha
Come HomeCome HomeThe leaves were just starting to fall as Alexander Bartel wheeled his bike out of the garage and left for work. They had been yellow and orange for a few weeks, but red veins had gradually taken over until today, when, at the hands of an incoming cold front, they began to fall like rain. The wind had awoken him early and when he woke up, so did his wife, who glared at him in the dim morning light and rolled back over. Breakfast had been instant oatmeal and instant coffee and half a glass of pulp-free orange juice. Grace liked pulp and he didn't, so they bought two separate half gallons every week. She was just waking up when he left for work but he made it out the door without her noticing.On the whole, Grace was not very supportive. She acted as if she didn't believe him when he said he was going to work and had taken another job on the side for extra money. He always said he would help her achieve success as a writer but now she had taken the new job and rarely went to her
ElenaElena followed me homefrom work one nightand stayed for tea and eggs,and all that minimum wageand wars between the sheetscould bring.She said she was a goddess,daughter of a carpenterwith her long red, red hairand eyes as warm as hazel nutson Christmas morning.Her hands spoke brailleacross my backand made the silenceof Sunday into a prophecy.She left one Octoberjust like she said she wouldwhen the fireflieshad turned their wings to ash.And I found revelationin red, red wineand cheap red, red fabricthat came off in my handslike summer.
there's something fatal about coughing up verse.i got written up for writing poetry on the desksat school.i don't think they liked the language i usedwhen i wrote how my heart was beatinglike headboards against the walls of people fuckingat 3 am to the sounds of joy divisionwhenever you read me paintings at dawn.they were going to send me to the counselor,but i said my therapist probably wouldn't like that,so they just let me go.but this saturday, when i'm cleaning lives off of every desk in school,i'll just be thinking how much i'd rather be sitting on your roofand laughing when we argue about rimbaudand sighing as we start to die.
renovationsmy mind looks at my bodyand says, "i don't like whatyou've done with the place."
WineHead on a patisserie tablewith a wine-scented napkinthat I scrawled your name all overin the hopes it might necromanceor just romance youto this place, at this time,so we could be together againand although the guitarist knowsthat I'm broken beyond blueI keep reaching for the bottlein the hopes it might recreateor just replicateyou.
I'm too poor to feel so middle class.My teeth still ache from the dentist,but it doesn’t stop me from nibblingthe cheese danish I bought at Krogerthis morning, warmed by thirtyseconds in the microwave. My mugof hot chocolate is too big, and Idrink it all. The washer is on its lastcycle; the cat is purring at my feet.Netflix is background noiseto clacking keys, typing a transcriptof middle class morning that I’ll latercall a poem or a turning point,wondering when I became such an adult.
the polar opposite of translucencycradled in the echoof a cloudburst,the earth curls invisible fingersabout my achilles' tendon& pulls;she cries that i am notintended for the clouds,that my mind must not wanderbetween their susurrous concavesso i,furious with her insistence,her petulance,untether myself from the soft,diaphonous comfort of the heavens& sink,down into the weight of gravity.listless green blades welcome my soles,stimulating a tickle,an itch,a sneeze; i never have done wellwith nature,but oh,she is calling for me,soft-tongued and crisp in herown shadow,& i am sorely temptedbut no,no--i am not for the soil.lungs listless,she becomes my inhale;lightheaded& translucent,my alveoli shudderbeneath her force--i am not for the air, either.mellow-skinned,i stand beneath her onslaughtuntil she tires,her molten heart beating beneath my toes;unable to woo me with her facets,she pirouettes,cloaking me in one last attempt,a final shadow.my pores bloom& i r
to the ghosts with you, my deari came not to be kissed,or to have myself cradledin the curve of a throat,but to be broken,to be diminishedby your lack of affection& over indulgence of sexualization.but i,uneducated in your intent,found myself left entirely whole& incapable of the furyi had sought to sow between theridges of my aching ribs.
she suffers melancholy like the plagueshe cannot raise her voice to reachthe notes that she adoreswithout the ocean escaping from her eyes,and she cannot kneel in prayerto the god that she tries to lovewithout copper staining the pavement,but she can scream into a room and not be heard,and she can deprive her stomach and not be seen--but oh,these are not the type of talents to be appreciated,to be loved without condition,and so nobody does.
AgainAnother dayA new beginningAnother nightThe same nightmare
No ShipI stand on the edge of the ocean.A cliff-bench seats me,Silence greets me.Bleak and sullen skyForebodes a storm, but no winds blowGull-cries mock me I see no ship on the horizon;Breakers crash. The echoesOf my cry.