Sandra’s Constellation and the Black Hole in Conroe

She was baking cookies when
there was a knock at the door.
She opened the door to a blast
and went down, got up
but the second slug
laid her down for good.

Life ran out from
deflated lungs and
two ruby fonts, seeped
away in deep red streams:
the caring, the cookies, the little
hospitable and accommodating
things she did for her son,
her patients, her killers.

Small ordinary kindnesses
she offered to everyone, and
those mundane duties she
might’ve anticipated with a humble
gladness in her mind’s static
behind the lists and ideas
and phone calls, and errands
she ran in her red Camaro.

It happened so fast.

Her death—discarded in a lake.
But her dying, here it was
pooled on the floor and sprayed
on the wall, constellations
of crimson flecks everywhere.

The lights left on for days.
A television flashed and chattered.
Two and a half rows
of cookie dough mounds
mummified on the kitchen counter.

Video Links Here

Dinner with the Hemiingways

Published in Apeiron Review, Sept 2014

 He can’t sleep
so why should you.
Lights are on
at the morgue; they’ll
unzip him for you.

The man on the slab stops at the neck.
His hand is cool between yours, and
you’re shaking when you find
the divot in his finger, proof
of that last exertion.

Brown, curly hair fringes
his opened skull, the interior
exposed like the rubble
of Coventry Cathedral.

It’s catching, they say—the melancholy,
the lassitude, a germ in the tears perhaps.

You’re afraid, but
you might risk it, knowing
once you close your eyes
you could fall long into
that hypoxic darkness too.

It took a while.
After a few false starts,
putting it off and putting it off
until the time was right­— when the money
and the gun met, then he finally
lost the argument
on the drive over.

The view from the St. Johns bridge
is a postcard bearing bad news.
When you’re ready, go stand
on that exact spot, look through
his eyes, and try to change his mind.

Video links here

 

Elegy for a Hymen

It’s a strange prize
that bit of wafer.
What is it exactly—
this small  ribbon of a thing?
A moment?
A boundary?
A sacrifice?
An eventual man worthy
of such sterling virtue—
this chevalier—he is her rescuer
he is her murderer.
A man among men, but
underneath the armor,  where
is he soft and perforated?
And what does he become
after the bleeding?
An odd quarry
like a fox gone to ground.
Hounds— the hounds sound
their awful music.
Their work is done,
their master approaches.
The pelt is relinquished.

Video Poem Links Here

It Hurts

so you keep touching it:
Paper cut, glass shard,
hangnail, splinter—
abrasions, eruptions, small
dermal breaches: those slight
vexing snags you can’t
leave alone, so you touch,
tap, pick and pull until it
doesn’t hurt, while still
needing it to do just that.
Go over it and over it
refiring the sting.
Nerves gossip, synapses alight;
closure refused again.

Video links here

Elephants

 

(for Blake)

Stories exchanged, details halting
from constricted throats, the air—
a somber pleurisy pierced by welcome
occasional laughter; we remember
our dead in this way.

Like elephants, we pick up the bones
and kiss them, handle them, feeling for
pocks and notches, their wounds and wornness.
We fold the remnants into our long memory
then in tender uncoiling, replace them
on the ground.

A gray procession
lumbers home; our giant tears
muddy the path.

 

Video link here

 

Published, February, 2016 in Timberline Review

 

 

In A World Without Cats

Mice proliferate, lay down the law.
Birds are arrogant, and take advantage.
Surfaces are hard and cold, we
know nothing of plush.

Upholsterers must learn other trades.
You have no proof of miraculous returns
from the brink of death, over and over
again, even up to nine times.

You cannot practice unconditional love
for someone who would kill you for food,
kill you for sport, take or leave you,
indifferent to the end.

You keep thinking someone is
at the door, wanting to come in,
but that’s impossible.

Your Mouth is a Wound, and That Fly is a Nurse

What keeps the flies
from nesting here?
Do they wait nearby, should
Mors dispatch?
How do they know
that you’re just asleep?
To them, does death
not look like this?

When that hour
overtakes you—
the smell of something
not alive will
waft by scores of
hungry vermin.
Defenseless, you
seem to sleep.

Insulted nevermore by this, nor
by the dirt thrown on your face; let
greedy maggots take their fill.
When flies are born,
the beetles come.