I would slip over silk and satin and marble,

swallow my pride and startle the guests

with my ferocious gentleness. I have more

room to forgive when I know nothing will

go wrong within the bounds of dusk to dawn.

Arms outstretched – I will allow myself to be

touched – aglow in the admiration, at last!

How can those hand-cherry-picked cause

calamity? I know each dancer better than

I know the way my own body blends and

breaks and bruises in the ballroom. I am more acquainted with amorousness than

apathy. Besides, they all broke through barriers to get to me. I would let down my

walls, just this once, as their sweet nothings whistle with the wine winding down my throat.

I would let them love me with the good intentions I remember them by.


Poem – “Muscle Memory”

The heat death of the universe / in the chemtrails of a man made jet plane / it cuts an arc across the sun / parallel lines and parallel lives / blue veins cascading across flesh, branching outwards in the sky, growing upwards in the forest / The Big Bang

And I’d speak your name out loud / but the jagged shape of the letters would tare this iteration of my tongue to shreds / scraped flesh and blood between my teeth / bubbling as I struggle to breathe / my teeth tangled in the roots well below the surface / a coating of mud to soothe the aches and bruising

Sometimes I think I’d like to forget / but then who else would remember what you did to me? / Who else would hold you accountable? The version of me still shackled to your sickness? She does not have the strength to complete that task / Man may alter the Earth as they see fit but the rock always anchors the askance and awry in the trappings of truth / I think we all remember how it ends / we all remember the beginning and


The sky bleeds onto my skin;

I dig my nails into my ankles until

they blister, raw flesh ringed with red light.

I set the silver for supper time

and empty myself out in the hopes

that someone will want to feast on

what I have to offer. Something is wrong;

I can’t see my full reflection, as it is

vexed by rust and varnish. The chapel I haven’t been to in forever has begun to rot and crumble. The meat raised for slaughter

has grown mold; the blood that pours forth when it is cut is obsidian, a liquid void.

Not that anyone would dare to break in

if I laid myself down on the altar in the

middle of the party. People are not so

precocious as to self-inflict pain.

Does it always scar so deeply? I must

confess to the bacchanal gathered that I

have faded into your masses so that I am

more transparent than opaque, yet still I

feel a sense of divide. A crevice, if you will,

that should be leveled and filled by jovial,

honest company just… isn’t. But, then again,

all God’s creations are missing something. Maybe this is just my burden to bear, my garden to toil in, my orchard to tend to

so that it may burst forth ever more

bountiful with the freshest fruit I can take in

my palms and squeeze the abandon out so

it may sink into my flesh and become part

of myself. Sticky hands perform the stains

of labor. Maybe this is how it’s always been.

Poem – “Dog Eats Dog (And So On, And So Forth)”

Newborn baby bird

bursts forth, breaking from the bough

before it can fly —

and so it falls. Time

feathers into fragments, each

a wing outstretched toward

a mother already

moving through grief, onwards and

upwards; cuts the sky

with her cry: all the

acknowledgement baby bird

will receive in it.

The concrete is not

a meadow; it never moves

for mercy or tears.

It only strikes once.

That is all it needs to do.

Above, the sky: blue

as airless flesh in

wintertime, untouched by the

sly sun that deceives.

Still; still untouched by

the teeth that gnash in grassy

knolls and ditches. The

fate of prey is not

its own. Destiny is ever-

looming; prewritten.

The fates like to trick

you into a sense of self-

control. This is a

lie, like so much of

what we are told by others.

Reality: we

feed on each other.

Dog eats dog, and so on, and

so forth. Eat right up.

The feathers stuck in

between your teeth fall to your

plate, red and matted.

This is innocence

lost. Do you think anyone

would cry out for you?

Poem – “Gentleness”

Gentleness is a privilege

of which I have not yet earned

the right to use its good graces and

its cavalier kindness – its naivety

is a deadweight; a ball and chain.

Gentleness requires a capacity

to forgive past transgressions. But I

am not one to tolerate temporary stupidity,

even if it is made of my own mistakes.

Poem – “January 3/January 4”

Best intentions laid askew;

skip a routine day or two –

time has all year to wait

for you to fall further in the clutches of fate

and their bony hands, spindly and wrapping

around your waist, your neck, tapping

on your wrist, cracking on your flesh, waiting

to break a promise, to take

a life and keep it from truly living,

instead having it confined

to the monotony of driving

home from work and realizing

that you are white-knuckled,

gripping the steering wheel

yet clutching nothing close to your chest

but the fact you that failed, even though

you say you tried your goddamn best.

Poem – “Holy”

My pristine pale palms are pressed together;

my violet knuckles are icing over my flesh

as frost bites, sinking sharp teeth straight

into bone: grinding, groaning, graying.

They promised that, someday, I could be a

God. So, I prostrate and I pray; a stone

statue crumbling into crumbs ground into

sidewalks and steps and doormats.

I give my all so that someone may

worship me for the martyred maiden I am;

give thanks for the sole sacrifices that

let them get to where they stand today,

still and sturdy on my remains.

Poem – “Penance”

I have become hyper self-aware;

the ringing in my ears, a bell tolls

in a church tower overlooking a

graveyard, all my ghosts peering

in through the stained glass windows,

whispering some high-pitched howls

that pour through my lips as hymns.

Only the haunted are as haggard as I.

I take on the burden of translating

the toils of the past to the temperament

of the present and the tranquil of future

time spent amorous instead of apathetic.

I, an angel, must put in the work to fly.

Only the haunted are as haggard as I.

Poem – “December”

Every first has a last; every end, a start.

Midnight melts into a tipsy twilight where

crispness crinkles in the air; a crescent

arc cuts bruises to bone and heals at the

source, fresh as the bright pearls that

blanket the breadth of the horizon. It is

a comforting chill that settles on my

shoulders, letting them sink under the

weight that lightly lifts a smile on their

face; the moon, magnificent in the night sky.

I have almost made it to the mark;

I have only just begun to breathe.

Poem – “Pearl”

(Inspired by the A24 movie Pearl, directed by Ti West and starring Mia Goth.)

And maybe I wanted the farm, once;

the fields, elegant and effervescent

existential amber grain, a bountiful

harvest. But the Technicolor turned tan and

tepid; a life full of tranquility, tanked.

A silver wedding band rusted. A screen-fit

ending; a lonely life, a labored breath

beginning, stretched out too thin.

The sharp streaks; rust stained into your

skin that was all-too-rosy and lively before.

Did you believe you could war with a woman

and survive her wrath? That she wanted

you more than herself? Maybe I wanted the

farm, once. But I am bound to be more

bountiful than broken. I am bound to be as

bountiful as broken shards in the soil; tears

drying on your ever-paling cheeks.