he juggles my pulse with his tongue:
knows just how long to keep me
in the air, how to help
me stick the landing.


she was the reason for tuesday morning poetry.
i have been trying to remember the details:
blue eyeliner trailed to crisp point, the breaking point
of pacific waves, flatness of her cheekbones like someone
sandpapered them down, a smooth finish.

jeans tugged to reach tops of her socks, jumping above her
ripe-cherry bones – ankles a stripe of skin smooth
against dark denim. i like to imagine calling her baby –
a word i have never used to warm the shoulders
of anyone else and she wears it like a fur stohl
nuzzling her dimpled nose into the small dead thing.
Relishing her title like a piece of ripe fruit,
baby, baby, blue wave break baby.

First date in three parts

Naked in front of the mirror, white
dimpled body caught
blank in lamplight.
eyes like telescopes
inspect every seam.

I am close to adding my vomit
to the gunk that holds
the sidewalk together. Instead,
I nibble at the end of my tongue
pulling off tastebuds like stickers.

It is no longer about me.
Blue corduroy over curve
of his legs, like he’s always holding
an apple between his knees.

Drink up

His arms are wound around my throat like a winter scarf.
Abrasive as coarse wool, bits of him try to sneak through
my lips like stray fibers. Mouth not built to barricade,
eventually cheeks are filled to roundness – two small
plums, and a snakeskin teasing my tonsils.
The next morning there are thumbprints where evidence
is not collected. All I can find of him are the pieces
caught between my teeth.


Cambodia swallowed him like a pill
washed with water saturated in salt.
he mixed with sticky Khmer noodles,
Amok and curried vegetables hot as equator sun –
some days it is hard to keep him down.

a jungle-country, he teaches children english
(his poet tongue surely curling like smoke)
dropping seed like fruit trees until survival
seeps from his pregnant woman’s breasts.

knees bent beneath palm wine, claims
alcohol beneath his skin makes the heat bearable.
will the child have veins already split
from sun or pills, can breast milk feed
a family of three?


(Day 18)

I have never killed an animal.
complicit, maybe, but never gripped,
wrung, squeezed at a live thing
until it wasn’t.

slaughtering has been described
beneath grandfather’s hands – pigs
playing out foot work, skirting
the fence edge. They know they are next
when they hear chickens in mourning.

sinews stretched across wood,
muscles ripping like wrapping paper.
blood meeting the earth, warm smell
of insides spilled – humanness
has made us forget we, too, are made of meat.

I am reading Morrison’s Beloved.
something in sethe makes her able to kill
the thing mouthing her nipple – hollow it out
on the woodshed floor

tendons tight tight to tearing beneath knife
clutched like rosary count strokes like beads

maybe it is something all mothers have.
why is pig a carcass but a baby is still a body
i am sure the smell is the same.