May 05

Canyon


We walk together again through Coyote Gulch,
sisters, side by side,
seven years of separation since our last excursion. 
The water is so shallow now;
my legs sprouted while I wasn't watching,
like the winter-battered trees will have sprouted
hopeful green buds upon my return.

We were always exactly the same height,
down to the wire,
competitive about it--
growing together but not in alignment. 
By the time I won,
Mar 07

Valentine's Day, 2018

Firegirl recorded her piece which is attached here and was aired on Vermont Public Radio on March 14. 

When you told your mom you loved her
before you caught the bus this morning,
you meant it in the way a teenager means it
when they kiss their mother on the cheek,
cereal on their breath,
backpack on their shoulder,
head in a million places.
You meant it in the way that assumes
you will see her that evening after track practice,
in the way that assumes
you will seal the day with another I love you
before you turn out the light. 

When you told your mom you loved her
at 2:21pm on February 14th, 2018, 
with saliva choking in your throat,
you meant it in the way you could never mean anything else in your life.
You meant it as an apology
and a cry for help
and a plea for her to hold you like she did when you were little,
and the monsters in your dreams were stuck in your head. 
Mom, the monsters are real this time,
I swear it.
They're real and they're just around the corner.
They're real and their teeth are bullets that bite the backs
of friends who did not have time to tell their mothers they loved them.
They're real and I'm so
so scared.

Feb 16

Home is Where the Heart Is


My heart makes its home in a body that rejects it.
My heart is a vital organ;
It’s only mission is to keep this body living,
To circulate the blood
That pricks roses in these cheeks,
That keeps these fingertips from turning icy,
That plumps these ruby lips.
And my heart is hated by the body it nourishes.
This body retches in disgust
Each time it feels my heart beat.
It spits,
How dare you feed off my flesh?
As if my heart has not spent each waking moment,
toiling for the body it has been assigned,
For the body it loves,
For the body that refuses to love it back.

This body seethes through dripping teeth,
Fine.
If you refuse to vacate,
We’ll cage you,
We’ll work you harder,
We’ll run you faster and longer,
We’ll starve you until you’re surviving
On false promises and sideways glances
And your crooked rythmn will echo
Jan 24

Leak, Part Two


Now I guess I know what happens
when a puddle refuses to drain:
Stagnant water.
Stagnant water that collects the bodies of drowned insects,
crumbles of brittle brown leaves,
flecks of engorged green moss.
Stagnant water whose stench permeates through every bone,
until the odor of resignation seeps from my skin.
A phermone for the disappointed.

My waters used to run so deep I couldn't see the bottom.
Now they quiver shallow
but so muddied I still cannot make out their cinderblock floors.

Sunlight does not reach 
the cabinets in the back of my skull
and so the water cycle collapses in on itself.
The only way to drain is to drink. 

If only this hemorrhage had not flooded my attic,
if only I did not have a horrible inclination towards this thing called denial,
if only I had used my tongue to plug the hole in the roof of my mouth
upon the very first taste of blood.
Dec 12

Leak


I know my head is full
when it starts dripping onto my tongue,
running down the back of my throat,
painting my teeth like the dentist paints flouride onto my molars.
In both cases,
I can't eat for two hours. 

Have you ever licked your lips
and tasted something milky
and realized everyone was was staring
but too polite to tell you?

(This isn't about you,
by the way.
It's about me.)

My fingertips are itching.
The beds of my nails are pulsing
and I only have so much time
before I begin to ooze. 
Why do you put up with me?
Why do you let me steal out of your unzipped pockets
with a resigned sigh and a roll of the eyes?
My compulsions tell me they might enjoy a light snack
and I cram their throats until they gag
and ask me what they've done to deserve this.
It's not what you've done--
it's what I haven't. 


It snows,
Nov 26

Currents


I lift my chin to the sky
to expose my neck to the unbridled sun
and fall into the ocean back first, belly-up.
It rocks me like a sleeper car, 
holds me in the crook of its arm
and carries me out towards the horizon.

Of course we don't notice the water growing deeper;
we're floating on our backs, after all.

Beneath the pebbled surface
my fourteen-year-old eyes ripple like hot glass,
and suddenly I understand that she is watching me
in the way that one watches the sun and the sky
from the sandy floor of a deep ocean.
She feels my presence in the way one feels a dream
just after they wake from it--
almost real, almost grounded in actuality,
yet fading more into fiction with each passing moment. 

She stays close to the ocean floor because she knows this reef,
because she still believes
that there are sea caves yet to be explored,
Audio download:
Currents_0_0.m4a.mp3
Sep 26

As I Stand on This Hill Looking West

As I stand on this hill looking West
at you, America--
or what will soon become you--
I am overwhelmed by the beauty before my eyes.

Your lands are so vast,
your fertile ground so resplendent
with roses the color of the blood of those with brown skin.
You remember what we sow
and it grows with a fragrance strong enough
to mask the scent of four thousand rotting bodies
buried beneath the hills of Oklahoma. 

My golden-haired, pale-skinned
Spirit of American Progress
raises me from where I stand 
and carries me across your terrain in the palm of her hand.
She gifts you to me, America, and with you every creature to cross your land
whether with four legs or two. 

In one pocket I carry a quill to sign a treaty with a signature that lies
and in the other a gun 
in case the other party hesitates. 
I would pull the trigger for you, America. 
Sep 20

Crown

Born blonde like tea overflowing with a generous amount of milk,
off-white wisps thin and spiraling,
every strand a halo on the crown of mother's angel. 

Growing up to see locks melting into honey
like the sun lapping its tongue over ripened meadow grasses,
warm and out sight and mind. 

Long hair is a woman's crowning glory,
and so she obeys and so she cannot understand
why it snarls at her and bites the bristles that seek to tame it. 

Locks fumble under fingers without tact
and braids become barbs that prick her untouched skin
and cuff her wrists until they submit to the weathered ropes.

The cold scissor blade touches her neck
and she thought she was only cutting hair
but she sees now that she is cutting chains. 

When does she cease attempting to tame 
and begin attempting to destroy?
Bleach, burn, overburden with color until it blanches twisted rainbows. 
Sep 07

the truth

i wish i knew how to tell truths
that nobody already knew. 
i wish i knew how to say things
that burned off people's skin
and drew new valleys between the creases of their brains. 
my writing is one part words that someone has already invented
one part punctuation that i lapped off the pages of my favorite novels
and one part dead skin fallen from my fingertips.
i wish you knew that there is no secret ingredient. 
i wish you knew that there is only one story 
(ask every english professor and they'll tell you the same).
i wish you knew that a poem is less an itch waiting to be scratched
and more a hangnail that you gnaw at until its raw.
the satisfaction of catching it between your teeth
is almost overpowered by the pain it leaves behind,
and no matter how you try to rid yourself of it
it inches back every time. 

i hate to state the obvious
but i am weak to my impulsivities. 

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