dream sequence I

these nightmares don’t behave as they used to / sometimes they get up and walk around the room / sometimes they stretch out, do little jumping jacks in the corner / sometimes they ask politely to use the restroom // on sundays they wake up adjacent / kiss the cheek/ slip downstairs and make themselves coffee. sometimes, sadness as breath / sadness as jackals / smiling with teeth like soil / walking upright / hunting with spears like men / telling their children lullabies at nighttime / and losing sleep over rent. (more…)

i’m learning how         to knit         with my fingers
              you’d never guess       how many times
i’ve failed at failing                           i’m bad at talking to myself
              truth is:            who cares                         i don’t
              i’m                     not equipped                   for the long haul
but i’m              well i’m chasing my tail in triangles
& forcing geometry                   to align with my preconceived notions
of how to be a               world finger knitting champion
or maybe         i’ll blossom                       into a round slick bottomed
black & yellow honeybee         haven’t i been telling you           the truth for
years                   if i were a spider,         maybe a lovely black widow
or charlotte                     spinning webs               i wouldn’t
               be a liar & this wouldn’t           be debatable
               everyone wants to         save the bees
& kill the spiders             this is all i have            the binary of life & death
the good & the wicked i could finger knit you a sweater
that’s stained with        my blood & you’d call it what it is:                       ruined
i’ve imagined what i could                    accomplish if i were waking up
              every day & trying on new                     fingers
would there be a sense of urgency that is often missing (more…)

     Pirate Keith, as he insisted he be called now, held the kaleidoscope to his one good eye like a nautical spyglass. Since the accident that damaged his right eye had forced him to wear an eye patch, Keith had taken to acting like a pirate in stunningly quick fashion, much to the consternation of his Protestant parents who hoped he’d someday end up a lawyer or a dentist—something respectable. But it seemed the pirate life had chosen him, so Keith embraced it with verve.
(more…)

Scott sits in my house after his grandmother dies
and tells me all the ways they might sew her mouth shut
for the funeral.

                             There are three main ways they do it, he says.
                             There’s a kind of mouthguard, and a dermal punch,
                             or sometimes they might attach wires to the gums
                             to crank the mouth closed. And if none of that works,
                             they’ll just sew you up. Needle and thread.

Scott stares into his tea.
He’s been reading a book about mortuaries, which he recommends.
He’s learned all kinds of useful information, especially now,
with both of us considering how we would want our own mouths kept closed
when we die. (more…)

0FT

When they watch the bus get sucked up into the sky most people assume it is a stunt for television, possibly a trick by that famous magician. Some people are genuinely awestruck; others, occupied with waiting for their own buses, want the stunt to finish now, please, so that they can have a little clap and then get on with their day.
When the bus does not descend, the awestruck say, wow! That’s a really good trick, to keep it up in the sky like that. Despite themselves, the impatient find that their interest is piqued once more. Some start laughing at the absurdity of it all. Others feel nervous. Others feel fear. The bus station is a veritable smorgasbord of emotion. (more…)

Doppelgänger Lovers

I love to love, but I am not good at it. My bed has seen many loves; my pillow has heard talks and tears from quiet nights with either John, Jimmy, Justin or Jane—all are blue-eyed with curly hair. The tears on the pillow are always mine. Letting go of one love conjures memories of our dinner dates, hiking days and movie nights. The bed clutters with endings and new beginnings, and each goodbye welcomes new lovers that resemble the former—blue-eyed and curly haired—my doppelgängers.

Indeed, I love to love—when I find one lover in another.
                                                                                    (more…)

Shemira

When you said we each choose our own death I asked your ghost
to guide me. Among your abandoned drafts: silence and spaces,
the height of the flame, the torn page, blood under the words.
When the wound was cauterized, you painted your lips around it.
I’m talking to you, Clarice.
And I will keep your secrets, everyone else’s on top of my own.
I won’t speak of the spells you cast, how in the dark
you’d search for the words that would steal something
back from the dead. And those parts of yourself
you thought were dead. The lives you could’ve lived.
Husbands never understand words like yours, or gods,
or bodies. How the name you were given,
one I’ve been called before and in anger,
was buried behind others until you were.
Twice forged of mutable fire, under a new moon
and planets laid down like stones on a grave.
How many marks of erasure, how many pages you let burn.
I’m with you now. The moon’s in your sign again.
Full just past dawn, and my body will rise to meet it.
Do you write the story of decay or does it write you.
Did you cause more harm with your hands or your mouth.
Like you I longed for silence but someone always near,
someone there to weigh each breath. Your ghost was me
called by another name. Like you I was a night person. (more…)