Mar 13

Sonnet for uncertainty

Freshmen held hands,
I shared a bag of popcorn with my sister,
and the subway riders gripped poles—
what do you call kissing with a mask on?
In January I read about pandemics in the car,
but it was snowing then.

Now I have a cold and everyone I talk to
takes a step back.
I can only assume
there’s no theatre in quarantine 
but even from the window you can watch
winter dripping away.

It’s not the right time for touch, no,
I check the New York Times instead.
Mar 06

A reminder about the boy you love


(as told through a swing dance and a physics textbook)

The boy is but an echo 
The boy is but a tune 
The boy is but a sharp
The boy is but a scuff in wood 
The boy is but a pause between sets, a present

science promises pasts and futures 
slip into each other.
I couldn’t tell you why,
I couldn’t explain how the fabric 
of space and time dips 
and spins and stretches, 
but if you watch the dancers’ shoes;
how they turn on a dime, 
when the floor becomes pure grease 
and every glint of heel is a star, 
you will understand, 
you will see it in the way your friend
plays the flute, keys clacking. 
It is all only interaction, 
quanta shifting.
There is no “here” or “this” 
just as there is no “him”: 
he is only atoms momentarily stable 
before returning to dust, 
like some bible verse the liars got 1/4 right.

The boy is but a blip. 
Dec 20

Dreams III

III. 
(for e) 

in two years we will be back in the bean bar-
no just listen to me for a second-
and you will be playing piano
and singing with your voice 
like a crystal vase and will have forgotten my name
or maybe the other way around and I 
will have forgotten my name
and the shoes I wore on this night-
this very night!-
when the christmas tree is like an arch
bruising the sky
and no one is on church street but somehow there’s not 
a single star to be seen 
except when I waited for you 
to come out of the house and stood 
for a minute and didn’t wish for anything but happiness
and isn’t this happiness?
here with you drinking a coffee and watching everyone love each other
everyone miss each other without being gone
their effervescence is subtly vulgar
and now that I think about it 
happiness is rather lonely 
and both of us believe we would rather
Dec 20

Dreams II


II.

I had a dream where I was so sure
that even though you are as stoic as a block of marble 
and drive yourself to the doctor and the
grocery store
and you’ve told me to shut up
& I’ve been afraid and also awed
and you bought your own car
and run a business
and go to parties and 
sit vaguely in closets and I barely know you,
that your mother still schedules
you a haircut appointment every 6 weeks
and she still drives you
and smiles at you in the mirror 
when she thinks you are not looking
and would like to believe as fervently
as you do that she knows nothing
that the painters are the ones leaving the 
cigarette butts in the begonias
and it’s almost endearing how much
you wish your stepfather to be a  claudius
but anyway when you are sleeping-
when you come home-
she sits on your bed and cries

 
Dec 20

Dreams I

I.

we all learned in 3rd grade
why the sun sets at 4:30 in December
and sometimes I dream about this
or maybe not this specifically but anyway
I wake up knowing the light on the 3rd 
grade classroom door and knowing symmetry
and knowing easy Wednesdays,
again.

 
Dec 05

You could never

Could you pretend for a moment I am not 
a godless heathen or
words not precious enough to speak,
your mother’s least-holy cross,
the pull-out couch the babysitter
fell asleep on

blackjack played for secrets,
friendship bracelet tossed in the campfire,
dust on a piano,
an empty bookcase,
dog hair on your silk shirt

the fired nanny,
house sitter who quit the Thursday you left,
your aunt’s mistranslated tattoo,
Coca-Cola poured in a wine glass,
stack of unread tomes on the vanity

a confidant contradiction,
Thai tea stain on your favorite jacket,
sweater worn in 90-degree weather,
dry-eyed at a funeral,
coven meeting in April,
sleeping in chemistry class?

But you could never
and instead
brush me like dust from your shoulder —
I am always two steps behind,

it is never far enough.

 
Dec 05

Late Night Pharmacy

never liked this road in rain
but it’s different when someone else is driving
free to look out the window, see
street lights poured in wells of pavement
all the bulbs flicking
out in the pharmacy.
when the music on is my own
and my bones belong to me again; 
not to the curvature of the road,
bent to the will of the steering wheel,
sheer force of the oncoming traffic.
then, like a concerto ending,
the first few seconds after the phone’s hung up and I’m alone in the dark,
we are parked: he has run in to get the cold medicine.

 
Dec 05

Country Mouse

all the fish are very pretty
shimmering silver in the glass case,
city park farmer’s market and
eucalyptus, lavender
bouqueted among snow
storms but I’d rather drink
a glass of cold milk than
watch the sun rise over the city 
one more day- 

I sleep with the blinds closed
and wake up ravenous.


A note: A lot of the pieces I've been writing lately have been short and bite-sized in a way, and this one is no exception! I've been trying to see how small I can compress a big idea while still having it be understandable. 
 
Aug 23

back in Vermont for the last handful of August

queen of the field once again, I return triumphant.
I want to live
in the place where leaves come from,
where the raspberries
are born on the bush,
the space between 
impossibility and abundance.
blueberry stained dress from lying in the sun, 
not a care in the world:
I eat a plum by the fire pond
in six bites.
clung to by grass and no one else,
being somewhat let go has not left me feeling freedom-
my independence has come
from being very fiercely loved,
if only by myself and the clouds.

and, oh, there are so many clouds.

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