Elastic Limit

Elastic Limit

I’ve never heard you laugh like that
he said as we swung
from the end of our rope
tied up and together
working with one hand
for all of us

The ethereal dentist hears you smile
and will check
your teeth
for cavities
before you open your mouth
again

Pull your cheeks until
your lips crack
from neglect
as if you have time
when you keep losing
your balms
easy when you
carry so many bags

Stretch
and give
and ache
and will another inch
because they need it

It’s going to snap
and your skin will                                                                                                                                           bear the blister from the shear

Buy another chapstick
Stack another box
Load another worry

Pray the elastic holds

and the limits forgive

Immovable

 

I stopped moving

That pile in the corner
crepitus
became locked

base of oversensitive and
siding of overreacting
ten penny nails of
insecure
hoisting the whole thing
just shy of collapse

because that where the real fun is

the disaster

splinter and crack
that’s where you can ooze in
squeeze between every
fiber
so the rust can set in

looks bright and copper
at first
gleaming

when the very sacs of
air that brought back life
are twisting the oxygen
to bring ruin

The next morning
I put my shoulder to the works
and get pushed away
no headway
with the machine
must be because
I’m so fragile
levers frozen
joints clawed
into each other

immovable

A wonder
why I can’t move

on

 

If you would like to read more of my dark yarns, my new poetry collection The Gone Side of Leaving and my debut novel Drowning Above Water are now out on their own in the world.

The Gone Side of Leaving

Drowning Above Water

Hides

Hides, it does

Tucked in forgotten drawers

Cozy under the bed, warmed by dust and lint

Sometimes I wipe it clean and hold it in my hands

The hurt

Nostalgic remembering

When we were thick friends

On the pillow together

Faded Polaroid

From a mistaken photographer

The image was meant to mollify

It murdered

I dig up

Bones and flesh

Surprised by its

Incorruptible

Resilient

Buried

But

Not dead

But there is wine

For the cemetery picnic

And cake

To feed

The happy living

When they learn

So I plant it back

Among the webs

And smile

Knowing I’m now the keeper

Of the hidden rest

 

My words are meant for hidden reading. My poetry collection The Gone Side of Leaving and my debut novel Drowning Above Water are now available.

The Gone Side of Leaving

Drowning Above Water

Wishbone

There wasn’t a wishbone

Nothing to fight
Nothing to break
Nothing to lose

I didn’t think to notice

Everything I wanted was ahead of me
on the stairs

Only took climbing up
after falling down
to see

I’m afraid to look back

The sun is mauve and orange
and warm colors of gratitude

I don’t want to remember
the white and black
of loss

When today is so good
and things

not known                                                                                                                                                       not trusted                                                                                                                                                           not wished

are true

Choked

I walked to work

with a wet scarf

choked

taut

pulled

from both

side

dampness

in two directions

moisture

most of it rain

but

little

least of it

was tears

More of it was snot

I’m sure

That’s what parenting is

Some days

Rain

Tears

Snot

If you’re lucky

you also get

a shower

a different sort of wet

a smile

and a hug at

the end of the night

uncloaked

unchoked

dry

What I Didn’t

What I Didn’t

Learn to spell believer

Change to os to as for feminine

Include Ferdinand with Isabella
but that may have been intentional

That’s what I didn’t do in fifth grade today

Didn’t distinguish capability from intention
work from talent
strength from indulgence

He sees what I didn’t
make dinner
wash my hair
clean the crumbs

What’s the worse didn’t
That I didn’t

He can learn
because he watches
what I didn’t
and see his same
didn’t

And then he does
Lie in bed with a book
That others think
Is meant for another

Didn’t like I didn’t

He senses my shaking
and knows when I’m crying
even though
I like to pretend bathroom walls
are thicker than they are

Didn’t stop like I didn’t

He doesn’t want my reminders
but it’s my fault
when I don’t give them

Didn’t stand up because I didn’t

I watch him parent
what I didn’t
I try to take the blame
that he shouldn’t

I didn’t enough

I hope he knows it was my didn’t

Not his

I Don’t Know

It is said that in these times, we need our poets. There is nothing I can give, but words and love. 

I Don’t Know

I don’t know how a man lies in bed tonight
when his wife is dead.

I don’t know how hate is cultivated and cared
for and nurtured like a hot house orchid.

Hate can’t come this easy.

Can it?

Isn’t it something that needs attention
and support to flourish?

I hate myself every day and
I know how much work that takes.
It’s exhausting.

And this seemed effortless.

Wasn’t it?

Hate – it’s planting a tree,
from barely a sapling
and feeding and covering
and measuring water
by the dropful and
the moment it reaches
its height.

Then bringing to slaughter
with slashes and gashes
and hacks
enough to draw blood.

I don’t know where the
next blood is.

Walking home?
buying a book?
Saying a prayer?

To which gods?
To which men?

Is it this hard?

The sun rose in the city today
even though we couldn’t see it,
keeping itself grey and quiet, rain for tears
as the names were read.

I don’t know when we’ll see
the sun again.

I don’t know how we
learn to put love in
place of policies and
protection.

I don’t know how to
not be afraid and look
for exits before even entering.

I don’t know how we build a
bridge in this city so full of them
without each other.

I don’t know.
Maybe together,
we learn.