cabin fever

we fuck hard enough to knock
the himalayan pink salt lamp off
the bedside table, send the organic
lube and shea butter tumbling
onto the carpet. the salt lamp remains
intact, but we check only once
we’re finished. the lamp falls about
every other time. but we replace
it in the same spot. we are dutiful
with our ions. this is winter fucking—
it is frantic, too little heat then too
much, a desperate attempt to feel
like the day accomplished something.
we try new things. some of them work.
most don’t. the sweat freezes on our
noses, condensation turns ice
on the window. it is us against the cold—
the only way to prevent us against
us. february can turn anyone.
the snow would be beautiful
if there was just less. your skin
is too pink under salt light. the days
pile up like a drift in front of our door. 

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last light

i am tired of writing angry poems
but you are making it so hard.
i drank four cups of tension tamer tea
yesterday and still i found myself
with my fingers wrapped around
the dog’s ears like yanking a girl’s ponytail.

i am not normally like this. the last light
is still touching the tops of houses
and i have been walking a long time
the key is don’t stop nobody gets away
by being the fastest they do it by staying
in motion. my sweater is too warm
and the wool is drinking in the wet.

i don’t know if i’m punishing you
or myself or the dog trotting beside me.
the snow gets in between his toes
and he hobbles along on three legs
until it melts. imagine that, having no hands
to fix things. just waiting for it to stop.
the sunset i drank it i think because
it’s gone and i have been running a long time

the sweat freezes on the point
of my nose i am lost somewhere
the city buses don’t go. i hope
you missed the last light it tasted
delicious. another cup of tension
tamer tea down and this time i didn’t skimp
on the xanax. i hope you get snow
between your toes.

sun play

i am winter sunburn. the skin on my legs peels
like a sticker. beneath a freckle sloughed off
there is another. i drink water ’til my stomach
is tight but my body stays sand. my mother
is a fire marshall and she says burns are the worst
way to go, the dying can take months. i snap
fresh aloe stalks onto the parts i can reach and
imagine my body entombed in gauze.

Cusp

My face thaws in his bedroom
blown in beneath the front door
the momentum sent me tumbling up the stairs
hitting my nose on the cusp of each hardwood lip
frosty irises grind to a halt on his floor
the carpet sending friction-warmth into the shadows
of my cheeks
melting skin leaves me resting in a puddle
of snot and ice bits
I wait for him to crack a window,
the breeze catching my tongue like a sail.

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.