"My mother liked to walk the hallways of
the picket house my father built for her.
She’d pace and pace the wooden floors above
while below, in the dark, I’d toss and turn.
The house, she said, spoke in his absent voice
and so she’d listen for his every breath..."
"I am seeking a haunting.
A creak-soft floorboard, a window pried and gaping.
All my prayers cut in half upon my cutting board
and left hanging from the weeping tree.
Make terror of me, I beg,
Out of me, out of the nothing inside me..."
"It is difficult, I think,
to tell the fruit from the
What is to be bitten and what is to be
Even the seeds.
You’d think seeds imply
fruitfulness, but that is not the case. "
A LOSING TEAM
"I love you while the microwave spins. From upstairs when I hear you hurting. Love is wincing
for you as I stay awake until I know you are asleep again. The snoring. Oh, your snoring. Tiny pieces and our home court
and I guess we gotta play the second half, even if it hurts. Even if we’re going to lose. We are, you know?
We’re a loving team.
A losing team.
I get those confused, sometimes."
ON HER BIRTHDAY, MY MOTHER GIVES ME A BOOK
"On my twelfth birthday, I wished to be beautiful.
On my fifteenth, I wished to be loved.
Last year, I wished to be myself.
Today, I wish I could go back to the time
in my life when I believed the simple act of loving
my mother was an agreement with the universe to keep her alive.
I do not get what I wish for. "
THREE MILES OF BAD ROAD
"we are three minutes into three miles of bad road (teeth clattering) and i can’t speak without a tremor in my voice. i would say the tremor is from the potholes, but she, she, is talking just fine. these shaking bones of mine are fear with its favorite mask on, so i can curse the hands and their neon vests that laid this asphalt, blame them for this sleepy-grinning terror as she turns to me, head leaning back against the headrest, the rattle blurring her edges..."
THE TRAIN IS COMING
"The train is coming, and our hands are tied, but me, I’ve got some wiggle room. Could untie the both of us and watch as you scramble up the platform, wood scraping, and leave only bloody knees and palm skin and fear behind. I’ll watch as you don’t turn around even as you hear the train brakes squeal because I, I have been train-hit time and time again you stopped hearing the steam engine years ago..."
"The river has my father’s voice.
I don’t mean silence, I mean it speaks.
My father dies every winter,
and in the spring the thawing.
Mud-warm hands but it all washed away.
I weep and the sun hears nothing.
This is when the healers come."
"No one on this Earth has ever wanted me.
Not piano keys or gas pedals.
Not the potted plant on my windowsill,
stretching out. Growing
away. Not even you.
I never imagined a wedding,
only standing beside someone at the stove."