Salt

Reach

There’s a branch

A net

A blanket

Held by a family

Waiting to catch

He’s dead

And much

too distracted

She’d try

If the cells weren’t

Unstable and mutinous

He’s just like me

Looks and despondent

Disposition

Godless seeker

All anchor

No raft

Swim toward

The chorus echoes

Behind masked

Faces

Blank in front

Of blank

Reach

For the Pagan

In your bed

Or the

Rope sent

From the heavens

What if you believe

In neither?

In faith was long

Ago burned by

Emulsion of misplaced

Trust, rendered fat

And a spark that

Refused to

Alight

Reach to

Yourself

Arms tight

Around

A poor

Sailor’s knot

And try to

Breathe

Through

Salt

Didn’t See

Who does your hair?

He asked me from the hospital bed

What size shoe do you wear?

Me.

Size 9. Maybe bigger.

How do you get it to stay like that?

Days of oil and a rubber band.

Why did you look away?

I didn’t.

No, listen, I need you to believe I didn’t look away.

That’s not me.

I don’t look away from ugly scars.

Blood doesn’t bother me.

Decay and shit and desperation.

I don’t look away.

Why?

What did you see?

Tell me.

What did I let you see?

Before you leave.

Please.

Tell me what you didn’t see.

Desire

Sometimes I have to step away from those I love to follow what I love.

Shook off the attachments of cellular and developed family.

Crawled out of my own skin to fill another body, to speak other words, to feel another pain.

Seems absurd and unreasonable and false.

Sometimes I follow my heart even when I know I breaks others and I shouldn’t even bother to begin crafting the apology.

Because I’d make the choice again.

Sometimes my own words aren’t enough and I have to rely on the kindness of strangers.

It’s a kindness to be able to walk amongst other dreamers for a while and to build beautiful castles from wishes and poetry.

Among the things I left behind were my own words. I stranded my characters on a back road in Virginia, gasping for breath and driving hell for leather.

My son is next to me and I’m in love to be there.

But my book, my Jack and his cronies, they need me back and I’m anxious to talk to them again.

Shelf

When I was in eighth grade, I got detention. The only one I ever would.

With another girl who also went on to be a writer. A good one. A real one.

We were not detention girls.

The plan was to create a time capsule. Capture the essence and sparkle and unrest of 1991and save it from decay for a rainy day.

Keep a time that was so hard in the living but might be passingly pleasant with distant remembering.

What about putting something precious on a shelf while you still want it in your hands

Like taking freshly delivered flowers and hanging them upside down instead on a wall instead of right way up in a vase of water.

Keeping something to remember before it wilts. A memory of beauty before you put your hands around and turn it ugly with oiled prints

Shelf out of the way

Shelf I can’t see

Shelf I’d like to build in my heart if only

I had the support beams

To handle the screws

Close

Enough to get a hand on

Enough that if it fell the

Memory would break

At least one bone

Want to know it’s there

But not know

Because I don’t know

Leave it there long enough

Might be there for

The next tenant

Cobwebs and dust

Encroach and envelop

So it becomes part

Of the timber

That maybe you’ll forget

When you pack your boxes

And downsize

When your life

Moves on

Or you pry the wood

And take it

Splinters

Brackets

Paint chips

Reaffix to ribs

And fascia

Soft

And brittle

Carry your shelf

Until it becomes

You

Dust in your veins

Cobwebs in your valves

And the memory

Is all that lives

Can’t Talk Yet

Sometimes, World Poetry Day is missed because of brutal fucking ignorant mental illness lapses. Anxiety and depression. The pneumonia was easier, gang. By a mile.

Listening to confessions from a mother

And songs respecting the struggle of abortion

I cried

At least the baby didn’t die

She said

I smiled for the first time

In miles

She’s been in

The car with

Me

Us

Half of

Gone

Many times

Can’t talk about it

Not to someone

Being so nice

To me

An indicator

Of true illness

Doing it again

Misplacing comfort and kindness

Where I want spark

Two lengths of jumper cables

Battery leads corroded

Green

A color I knew

Wearing it in the crowd

Staring the stage

Wanting my own light

Coveting conversation

Forsaken for

Hugs that don’t need feet

Those come from both

Sets of Arms

I’m told

Cemented you chipped me

Not enough to be broken

But enough to be surrounded

By ceramic pieces

Mosaic

Disconnected enough

That every edges finds

Your soles

When you get out of bed

In the morning.

Can you sprain your

Diaphragm crying?

Or is that just

Heartache

Setting up housekeeping?

Rattling pans

And nailing down

Carpet

Planning to stay

Until the foundation

Gives

Tucked with wool

Set aside from

The destruction

Handed gently

Handled

Purpled with

Neglect

Color of a fresh

Bruise

Waiting for the

Ease of pain

That comes with

Greens and yellows.

Twitching to a

Touch

Melting to a

Mouth

Stealing comfort

Even though

It’s freely given.

Some things

Can’t talk about.

Not yet.

Drain

Flowing down my leg

Just like my book

No pain

That I can feel

Only what

I can see

Should see

could

See

If only

I’d stop

Looking at myself

Pouring out of me

Like feelings

Seeping

Like purulence from

A re-opened scar

Like rancid

Avalanche of garbage water

From the truck I

Backed up to your door

Dumped my shit

Without ever giving

Ever yours

In exasperation

And exhaustion and

Maddening spinning

And swirling

This side of intolerable

Around the same

Endless

Rankling

Circular

Pattern

Drain that

I felt

That I was

Bivalves w(hole)

letting out

The rot

Sucking up

The reassurances

Leaving a mess

No casual plumber

Could possibly

Untangled

Everyone in the room

Is frustrated

And wet

My stain

More than Neptune’s ocean

Could fathom correction

You called them ours

Spilling so I wouldn’t

Be the only clumsy

Broken

Drain in the room

And I loved that

I would have sat

With you all night

Smelling like our scotch

Letting our shower

Wash it all

Down the drain

Turn

Key in hand

Matches the one to my

Mothers house

My dad isn’t there any more

Another one gone so

It’s hers

But this key

This key

Mine

Fits in my hand

Right away

No carving

Scars next to my finger

Wonder how that is

I walk in the door with

Problems and sadness

Sometimes food and

Poetry of

Questionable

Worth

A room of rugs

I tried to kill

And powders and

Sprays

And guitars that aren’t mine

Unless I want them

Access and trust

And how do I pay

That back with words

And pastries

And promises of love

I can’t prove but can

Imagine

And I do

More every day

How can I trust

This turn

This metal cut

To fit me

When my brain

Screams to change

The fissures that I

Dug myself

Deep and wrong

Can a key

Tooth and bite

Fit a cracked and

Clefted doorway

Can it lock out

What blew off the door

And froze the room

The metal warms

And matches my skin

When I hold it

So maybe

It can’t

But

It can turn

If I can