this is what it feels like

i’m gifting flowers with my hands,

lying on my belly. energy

blooming from open palms. mom says

she still talks with you,

is it true?

i’m afraid you don’t hear me,

so i’ve stopped, but this breaks me:

i see you coming down stairs

of your home, beaming

to see me; you’re waiting

at lot’s end, in rain for me,

to lead me home and we’re holding light

our harmony

on an easter’s sunday, tears

to run your face. i miss you




i’m not creative, you see

i wish to be more creative, more adventurous, to take a better photograph of the things i find beautiful; i wish to say out loud how much i’ll miss grandfather when he’s past. but i’m not and i can’t and i won’t speak of it because sometimes to be creative is to work too hard and the smell of my sheets in the morning and at night is too pleasant to pull out of to speak of things that hurt me beyond understanding. so i take the day and i hold your hand by your hospital bed. i tie knots in your shoes when you can’t seem to bend and i find your smile through your pain and pull you closer to a time when summers were long and the cartoons blared through television screens and your coffee still lingered in the microwave since the early morning. to be creative would be to admit that surgery is more than waiting rooms and jello cups, that behind curtains you’re naked in front of strangers with wires taped to your wrists and machines beeping for no apparent, understandable reason. and surgery isn’t spending time in the cafeteria deciding between coffee or tea, it’s your clothing in a bag with your name taped to the side, it’s deposable blankets and nurses who haven’t slept. to be adventurous would mean to miss these moments, hop on a plane and forget that my craft box ever lived on the second shelf of my grandpa’s den. so this is it: i’m not creative because i won’t write it all down when i should and i’m not adventurous because i won’t hop a plane and miss my grandfather’s surgery and his good spirit living in the darkest of places. so, i won’t take a photo when i find my grandfather most beautiful with dentures out and hospital cap on, i won’t take this and share it because it’s mine and i rather wish to keep it behind hospital curtains. i won’t take a photograph of what i find beautiful because i’ll risk ruining it, not giving it any justice. so here i sit uncreatively unadventurous, not taking a photo in sight, knowing that anyone around me could make their photographic dinners look more beautiful than my moments feel. but where’s the truth in that? i’m telling you, i’ve won. ‘cus mine’s a secret, mine’s with me. only me.

heavy we rest 

i’m working the clock like dogs, leaving prints where i land and it’s like this: life feels heavy when you rest, all motion hanging around you like clouds. it’s an unspoken fury in my bones and i’m spinning, leaving crumbs where my agony speaks, where i’ve refused to heal. sometimes i underestimate the essence of time, thinking maybe it will stop if i will it hard enough. but it keeps going and i miss the morning rush, hit traffic and make it in late to a half drank pot of coffee at the office. the thing about life is that it keeps moving, with or without you. it doesn’t slow when you need its hand, it doesn’t speed forward when you need a break. so my crumbs grow stale, leaving still only the feeling of a job unfinished. 

like mice

i would argue that loneliness can feel so loud
like a hammer heavy without rest,
like when lyle left and i know:
i’ll only ever have these fibers, the ones
that made me, that molded me so fragile,
so quiet.


louder than light

liquor against ice. cling, clang,
you’re drunk again, grasping glass.
refill it, inhale it. lose yourself.
where do you go? i’m waiting in the driveway with music loud. you’re lost
in dim light; shake, sink, rattle inside
yourself, wait for me to understand.
drink up, father. i’ll sit back, watch you drown. wake me
if you can’t see, let me in when you lose your grasp,
i’ll drain more in your glass, watch you fall.
you used to say
it wasn’t pretty, my singing loud. i only learned
to sing louder. can you hear me, father?
i’ll sing louder, louder, louder ’til you see
you’re my favorite piece of poetry.


delving through

delving through old photos, i find one with you.
it’s nice and my hair’s just right.
too bad i can’t use it. i don’t look the same
and us, here, it’s not relevant. you’ll be married soon
and i’m over here growing bad skin, thick hair. no room for sadness,
i leave your memory soft, tucked in boxes;
letters, paintings to grow old. i open my mind to feel:
today is better than you ever made for me. today i’m happier
than these memories bring. close the box, build a heart,
be here now.


all the women wonder

i imagine all the women wonder
if they’re beautiful. at the gym, a man
does somersaults. i think about him,
his short jeans, rolling around.
at the grocery, i watch men watch ladies
walk by with nice legs, pure skin.
i imagine women, how they wonder
if anyone’s watching, taking note
of the hem skirting the edge
of their blouse, the way their feet arch
in a new stiletto. i drive slowly,
sandals in the passenger’s seat,
thinking of lyle, the nervous noise
he clicks at the back of his throat.


writing on an empty stomach

i’m shedding skin, it seems.

losing hope. closing doors,

turning the music up.

i tell myself, act as if.

as if you know,

as if you’re confident.

sure. beautiful. willing.

hiding the heart on my sleeve,

afraid of the rash growing my face,

my emotions are closed,

making sure: i’m faking it.

faking it good.

oh my dears, get ready,

here’s what you’ve asked for.

the bastard’s daughter

you say grandma’s gone but all i see
is the drink in your hand, your uneasy movements and i feel myself heavy, drowning in years lost. december of ’92 she said you were hard to hold, stoned and stuck inside yourself.
she took my hand in winter’s air,
bloomed in me a raw understanding. you say how her hands fell slowly from her bed but all i see are your shaking palms, drinks that’ll never rest. i’m thrusting bottles at white walls, crosses hang heavy above the dying bed. i throw hands at you: tell me, father, when did your hands fall first?


i’m telling you

feel that? it’s your heart beating faster, the clock ticking slower, sweat against your ribcage. thank me for the run ‘cus now you feel it: the ever-enveloping lump in your calves, your stomach, your throat. glad you’ve joined me. let’s keep it coming, shall we? ‘cus it’s gonna be your best, you’re gonna nail it, i’m telling you. you gotta let life fuel you, not destroy you. lyle once told me the best run is the one he never wanted.