Violence

Superior is violent 

like the sea 

like me

Rocks aren’t as welcoming

as sand

But I stand here,

unrelenting

I am at peace

with violence

There is nothing except

a wind that rips through skin

with the promise of winter

Wolves stalk the neighbor’s cat

under a Pisces moon 

while I eavesdrop on hushed voices

At the picnic table,

a man regurgitates Hemingway–

a parrot in the land of eagles

Fireplaces and log cabins

are romantic to tourists,

but this place is a battered heart

and I know its pulse


I am at peace 

with silence


9/21/22

Water

There are no returns

We spend hours shaping

ourselves only to fit

somewhere else

I asked my ancestors

to send me a feather

if I should leave you

I stepped on an ant hill

in the cemetery 

and had to shake my shoes

next to a blue feather

But blue is the color of harmony

so I decided to stay,

every day harder than the last,

I grow crass and bitter

as bark on the silver maple

near the porch

where we used to laugh

You laughed today,

but it was with her

I don’t laugh anymore

you never let me with another man

so I tell you I hate

the way she makes you wheeze

I am never in on the joke

I am often the punchline-

an outward gesture of devotion,

tardy efforts to patch leaks

in a sinking ship-

I crossed state lines

and landmines

to be with you

but there were always others

I never jumped ship 

I always thought you would wake at the wheel

before letting me drown

Now I only trust water

08-15-22

Space

I am porous

I lose pieces of me 

when I forget to say

I love you,

little girl

I expect others to

fill my spaces,

like planets spinning,

synchronized in iridescence

But men are meteors

leaving debris

or, simply leaving,

in search of something

bigger

better

untouched

There’s more impact that way

Meteors are not aimless

but I have no sense of direction

I wish I was a satellite

In the end,

all that’s left 

Is empty space

Someday, I will learn to

fill it with I love you,

little girl



7-3-22

Hush Hush

If fireworks can scream

why can’t we


It was hush hush 

when my mom was sixteen

and noticed a peer

disappeared for nine months

babies aren’t quiet

but their mothers always had to be


I am not quiet

when I am pleasured

I am not quiet when

I dissent


How can we celebrate a country

where someone’s baby

has to carry one

where missing indigenous women

are never sought or found

where black mothers die threefold

because white mothers

are bleeding next door

where genitals are inspected

before pronouns are respected

and marriage equality

was a passing dream


If fireworks can scream

we can, too


6/30/22


What Now

we don’t respect death

we are crows with

shiny objects

tiny hands catch bullets

instead of baseballs

and we cry what now,

but now is the same as before

only guns have safety


the first time I pulled a trigger

I nearly shot a man hiding in the hill

I find no pleasure in power

unless it is shared

but sharing is only taught in classrooms

and it dies with our children

America is the land of promise,

of empty beds and crowded safes,

of talking heads and screaming babies,

of grieving families and political maybes


life is figurative

until it is taken

until mothers weep

in the streets of Texas

and New York

but by then it is death

and we don’t respect death

so what now


05-26-22

Is it

Is it what you want

I chew on this thought like tree bark

praying it will quell the ache in my gut,

but

my organs know

I do not want

to wonder forever

if you love her

if you love me

or if we are all just patches

never a quilt

you are always cold

because you want

it’s why I loved you

but now I hate those graphic tees

all who wander are lost

stitching experiences

together until

halves are whole

I want to see the world

through the eyes of my family

not strangers

I want to fold the sheets

and know you will sleep

beside me

in them, in there, in then

wherever, however, whomever

just not her

please not her

is it what you want

3/10/22

Notebooks

Do people change or do circumstances

between second chances

and first goodbyes

I don’t say goodbye, I disappear

too stubborn to hear

about dying

To see you again alone

is a reminder to run

as we’ve always done

to separate parts of the earth,

screaming into notebooks

while never acknowledging

words exist

I didn’t leave you

you were never there

To the birds

Eagle’s plume,

You dance on wind

And cradle the sun 

I am drawn to all Fathers

Who rock the skies to sleep

Sing to me,

Bathe me in affirmations

So I can soak in them

Whenever I am parched 

Yesterday my belly swelled with 

Your starry smile,

Each tooth a Great Wall

Between your tongue and mine

Today I am older

Happy 

To look up but not wish

To look back but not miss

Predation,

Only the empty nests

Where we left the future

To the birds

8/3/21

Messes

Did I love you

Or did I love my reflection

Fragmented/Split

I learned how to say sorry this year

I hear children are usually taught it

But I was never a child

And I never had parents

Sometimes I stay in bed

And wish for something unfamiliar

I plant flowers now

When I water them,

I remember to take a drink 

You should see the house

Linda the neighbor said it’s lovely

Linda is lovely

Still, dirt stays in my fingernails

So when I hold myself, I feel grounded

I leave messes

Because I don’t want to be clean

I don’t want anything to end

I did love you

04-10-21

Ammunition

Decades of hiding in mirrors,

diving into deep ends

and drowning in drink one,

two, six, eight

I don’t know who I am

Do you hear me?

I never had the chance

When there is never silence

you create it

You swallow your tears and your dreams

and let everyone speak for you

You spend every waking hour trying to piece together

why you are now made of ammunition

explosive and cold

All you want is to be held

but you rip into your own flesh

until you’re unrecognizable

and you force them to tell you

what you already know

Then you lie down

and hope you never find the strength

to stand up

02-07-21

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