Rubie Marie

She’s been cocooned in a room at the hotel
Rubie Marie for three weeks.
There have been no outgoing calls.
The inside of room 221 looks like a scrapbook –

the walls padded with a mosaic of photos,
all the same small face:

a smile like a dark crease in white bedsheets,
layers of gray on the side of a milk carton.

Sweater Weather

His smell stays on me how feeling wool
clings to your cheeks.

Smell the inside of my wrist:
the cigarettes he gave up, the way
inside both our throats always healing,
wood chips in my lashes.

Smell the back of my knees:
sheets selected for thread count, too high
to see grief woven in, he washes
his hands with dish soap.

A weed tinged welcome,
breath patterns spread like
crystalline rash across glass,

the vape sounds like ice cubes clinking
ice against teeth taste after dinner drinks
drinks go down like sawdust


Accused of writing too often about teeth,
too often about the vein stained underbelly
of the tongue – I have no defense.
A gum chewer, nailbiter, lipskin stripper,
I know him like I know the inside of my mouth.

Maybe I lost him when last winter’s cold grew
bloodless fingers, when I allowed them to warm
beneath my arms, between clamped
thighs, in the saliva-soft pockets of my cheeks.

Unable to explain why I stopped smiling –
having spent the previous night scrubbing
my gums into blood-freckled flesh
I couldn’t explain anything.

Nailbiter, lipskinstripper
I have no defense.