Empty Nest

I am not sure it is my mother on the phone
she coughs with her whole body
once every two minutes –
that is something I can know.
Perhaps she has been replaced
a flat-footed broad-faced plague of a woman
tendons in her neck
cresting like sea sick swells
and a mouthful of Halls
sucking medicine cherry
as she would aerate a dark red wine
through her cavern mouth
the pitch of her affirmations rise as they
approach the quiet
her sentences even question themselves
things a mother does not wonder
a salt-and-peppered productively ambiguous oracle of a being
accomplished at compartmentalizing she
swallows the bullshit of round bellied men
summer linens and
chlorine sticks from the pool shed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life Line

I imagine snapping her jawbone
like siblings crack wishbones
one to have a wish come true,
power of a quick wrist.
The ridges of her teeth
beneath my thumb
skin breached by her incisors,
graying, 3rd day snow.

The angle between her ear
and mouth-corner is lovely,
to commemorate: her malleus tucked
into the crack of my palm (the life line)
a bone tasked with conducting sound
nestled in my jacket pocket.
The quiet friend,
a good listener.

New Woman

Last night, I found him in bed with a new woman.
She was electric, red-bodied
knobs perfectly placed.
Running his sticky palms over the length of her –
Strings untrimmed, he plucked at her delicately
sliding up her neck
a crystalline crescendo, she wailed
beneath his calloused fingers
the perfect woman (a humorless oxymoron)-
loud in bed, well-tuned
a fondness for his hands.
She is a Gibson, he said
but she looked cheap to me.

13th Floor

From the 5th floor I can see the ice
cracked fingers creeping into the center of the lake
black-coated blurs splattered across the surface.
From the 9th floor I can see
the heat from the roof rising to meet the clouds
racing to breach the atmosphere.
From the 11th floor, the only hill in South Central Wisconsin
eases its way into the rusting horizon
patchwork farmland
and the cows with their winter furs
draped across their haunches.
From the 13th floor, the red-steepled church
children on dead grass
eager for the muddy season of snow-melt.
From the 15th floor, our house
one block behind, the gritty brick,
shingle-spotted roof.
From the 17th floor, I can almost see the empty
bottles on the windowsill
pages of Shakespeare drinking in cheap vodka.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turtlenecks

She wore a red turtleneck on the first day
not unwarranted, the weather man himself
donned a hand-knit scarf joked
that his wife had quick fingers that were finally
being put to good use.
Her chalkboard earrings asked for bedside notes
mistakenly carved into oaks
a purposeful sloppiness
only achieved by a pocket knife and a writers wrist.
She talked little and laughed a lot
the looseness of her jaw sending waves over
our lipsticked mouths,
the points of our eyeliner softening to a sex smudge
throat coated with her high necklines.

Asphalt and Peaches (Old Poetry)

She let her first kiss tumble
from the windows of her father’s jeep
as the car hurtled over the tennessee line
the fissures in her face were smooth
as she watched the kiss pummeled by oncoming traffic
swept under angry semis and bearded motorcycle men

her kiss became trash, tucked away
inside a splintered McDonalds cup
wishing it were rough like teeth and asphalt
soft like peaches, dirt and throats.