distance

i wish your love did not feel as far
away as you are. i am no good
at distance. i am the same size
as my body when it is with yours but
feel smaller. it is amazing how
4,000 miles away everything
becomes you. two boys throw a frisbee
in a field. i order peanut butter ice cream
& mouth warm it. all of the parks
have ping pong tables. a man on the train
has stolen your skin, hair but forgotten
to take the rest. still, i try to touch him
just a little. it is not enough
but it must be. the days are easy. i am full
with the newness. at night i eat dinner
alone with a beer like melted caramel, walk
home like i am trying to find anything
except my bed. a man stands outside
an apartment building with an armful
of flowers in a way you never have, but still
i put his jacket over your shoulders.

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(Day 3)

this city rises like a mole beneath my fingers.
when i scratch, it bleeds and stays scab

for weeks. this is the universe’s way of telling
me i have been in one place too long.
i have never been good at staying

put. i was made a wheel. or maybe
a wing. my mother tells me if you scratch
a mole too much it becomes cancer. i inspect

the scabs suspiciously. each one looks
like the back of a beetle.

holes in the earth (rewrite)

Cambodia swallowed him like a pill
washed him down with ocean water –
mixed with sticky Khmer noodles,
Amok and curried vegetables hot
as equator sun – settled in the country’s
great belly, and some days still
it was hard to stomach him.

two months in the jungle country
in a one room apartment
with a woman, skin like split lychee
he peels fruit with his hands and
next day she is back for more.

six months of stripped fruit flesh and
she tells him, you fed me so much mango
i am growing one inside me.
his knees buckle beneath palm wine,
he climbs out of his skin
to bear the summer heat.

they drink cool broth from yesterday’s
noodle soup, lick salt from upper lips.
papaya skins the size of a baby
pile up in the sink.

poet-tongue

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?

 

Not yet —

Her voice cuts late summer wind over the ankle-tall waves.
The air smells like lake-water.
A familiar rottenness and small things
not yet dead.

This is a show for people in love: heat fattened geese
skim their bellies, the woman plays with a loose wrist,
gray skinned couples dance hip-to-hip.

I read my Sylvia Plath novel until it is too dark to read.
Keep my collarbones bare for the stained sky,
picturing the singer tracing them with a broken string.

She shrieks a familiar line
missing sentiment and note.

I imagine Otis Redding rising
water-logged skin splitting like fresh fig,
cracking the surface of lake Monona.