9/21/18

i walk through the front door three times
before it feels good enough. what a pleasure
to find your lover home first. what a joy
to find your porch full of potting soil and
fingernail clippings. i sleep through most
afternoons now but i tell myself i’ve earned
it. what does it take to earn what you need?
this is worse than a bad peach. this is summer
gone sour.

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9/18/18

i imagine myself to tears
over and again. it’s exhausting.
this grief is a box with walls
i can’t see. maybe it is a tunnel.
how to mourn someone
who will go on living? these poems
are their own little funerals.
activity of the day: cry in a new part
of the house. wash the bed covers.
shower twice and forget to shampoo
both times. look at old pictures
that make it worse. grope around
inside myself for a minute until
i realize it is all air. walk
the dog without an umbrella.
sleep wet in clean sheets.

9/17/18

things that were once hard to love
have become precious with the threat
of absence. it is so hard not to be afraid.
what parts of you have already begun
to grow distant? i am scared to sit even
on the other side of the table. i wash
your forks and love you. i put your shoes
in a row by the door and love you.
i touch my mouth to your side of the bed
and try to imagine it as just the other
side. this is a helplessness i don’t know
what to do with. you are drunk and talking
so loudly, clearly in your sleep it sounds
like a wedding toast. i put your liquor
hands over my face and love you, still.
i never learned to want things
i can’t just worker harder to keep.

mile high

when you lean your head against the wall
of the plane you hear it for what it is: a ball
of metal hurtling like a crazed insect. it’s easier
to say things out loud at 30,000 feet: how seeing
me naked doesn’t excite you anymore, how we put
our hands on each other by default because it’s what
people in love do. from above the mountains
look like some sort of reptile–the back of a giant lizard.
i imagine falling from the edge of the wing like a seed:
not light enough to float, not heavy enough to fall straight
down. instead i drink ginger ale and look for snow.
what a stupid luxury this life is.

 

under pink light

i want you
to look at me:
strewn across
our bed, above
the blankets
but under pink
salt lamp light.
all crevice and
dip, no place
to balance a cup.
legs like a line
of tennis balls
inside a sock.
my mother said
don’t wear
horizontal stripes
they don’t do anyone
any favors. i haven’t
touched anything
striped in years.
i am all about
the long lines. all
about underwear
with more lace
than cloth, tight
in the right spots.
an hour under water
hot enough to cook
a small animal, no
more gentle cleansers.
you slide beneath
the blankets like
there isn’t a whole
human in front
of you. a whole
woman who could
be anywhere else.
what more can i do
to this body
to make you
want it?

two snippets~

you sit outside until we grow
dark. i can hear you like a mouse
in a box, the shuffle of a small
thing without light. how can i
tell you i would listen to you run
into cardboard walls face first
forever. your arms seem wide
enough to hold anything all
at once: when you pick up the dog
it is almost too much. you are growing
into yourself. there are fewer
empty spaces. the dog and i
are both helpless: legs or arms
reaching for another minute tight
to your body.

***

this is how it wins. first
it is on you like a tick or a bit
of sharpie or a small piece
of jewelry. then it is around your
neck all feathers and soft but so
heavy. it slides down shoulders
a cloak now or a dress now
it is bigger than the body now you
are being worn. you say little but
make a good broach.

little lives

fingers are biscuit blistered, risen
like dough into fine red mounds.
liquid grown hard under skin, like pomegranate
seeds ripe with pressure. these hands
could be your mothers
but aren’t. have you ever rubbed butter
between thumb and pointer until cornmeal?
it takes long enough to warrant a nap.
the world has ninety babies in that time.
in the oven the soft circles grow and grow
brown with age 
like little lives. we are hardly
any slower.
if you can tell a woman’s age
by her palms i worry i am already too far
along. this sense of time makes me frantic to make
more biscuits coffee little people pieces of good furniture.
all good things are either delicious or permanent.
butter is better because it melts. children are better
because they don’t. if you get flour in your hair
you’ll go gray early. sprinkle the salt
from high above the baking sheet. no, higher.
these could have been your mother’s hands
but weren’t.