Willow

Does she bleed anymore?
I’ll have to look it up.

I keep thinking about the plastic diagram
of a woman’s anatomy in the science classroom,
the great hollowed bean where
the bloomed iris of reproduction sits.
In a dream, a careless knock sends it
to scatter on the floor, ovaries rolling
under desks to collect dust.

Life continues.
I’m aware of how full a body feels.
I run thoughts of touch, of climax, and my pelvis swells.
I run the pavements and my pelvis thuds.
I can’t imagine such emptiness.

They scraped her out.
A radical hysterectomy.
A restructured vagina.
Rounds of radiation.

I thought of her the other day
as I did the dishes, scouring
the frying pan with steel wool.
I cried so hard I filled the sink.
The drain was slow to empty.
It held everything.
I hated its ability.

Malpractice shouldn’t
roll off the tongue like it does.
It should require spit, a throaty cough,
a sharp taste.

We are not martyrs, we are matrons.
Please look to our bodies with blades
of scrutiny, waves of patience.
Please believe us when we say “it hurts here.”

(2021)

sadboi cento

From the Latin word for “patchwork,” the cento (or collage poem) is a poetic form composed entirely of lines from poems by other poets. I used the lyrics of some of my favorite broody male musicians to make this cento. If you’d like to listen to the songs I pulled lines from, you can do so here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1jho9zYpQuzj3bVxSzRxdF?si=0EJLKiDHQ2i1Zj-9IJefmA.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the lonely hearts!

No bells anymore, just my stomach rumbling.
I make coffee while looking out the window and notice that
I can’t remember when or if I woke up.
Take a forty-five minute shower and kiss the mirror
and say, “Look at me. Baby, we’ll be fine.”
I am trying to make peace with where I am.

I’m laughing out loud so much it appears that I am crying.
(I remember laughing to take that away from you)
(I remember quiet evenings trembling close)
(I’d give my body to be back again)

I am trying to make peace with where you are.

I’m still standing in the same place where you left me standing,
dreaming of a lighthouse in the woods. I am easy to find.
(You can’t imagine how I hate this.)
Come to me now, like you did then —
Don’t leave my hyper heart alone on the water —
My only lover, give out to give in —
I am trying to make peace but not at all.

O, behold the hole in my heart.
(There’s blood on that blade, fuck me, I’m falling apart)
I’m afraid that I am feeling much too many feelings
simultaneously at such a rapid clip
and words are futile devices.
I am trying to make peace inside today.
I am trying, but it’s not working.

(Where does the baby bluebird go when she dies?
No chain to the sky, does she fly above the weather?)

(2021)

Antidote

*This is an erasure poem created from the NY Times article
“Slowing Down To Feel” by Gia Kourlas*

I found a tree,
thick yet unbound.

My muscles were laughing at me,
sites of parasitic effort;
a struggle to stand.

Let the weight move into lightness –
Melt lower and deeper –
Stay with me. Stay with me.

In relearning yourself,
no part disappears.
To breathe, to remain,
can be an antidote to dusk.

(2021)

Samsara

I think I can survive off champagne and compliments, I think I’m becoming lighter, I think I’m leaking, I think I’m killing the good and the bad bacteria, I think I’m terribly bored, I think I can call my state “contentment” when I see a green pine in white winter, I think I’m rebuilding and the structure remains a mystery, I think my body needs to take charge, I think I can be happy with what I have, I think I need a whole lot more, I think I’m safe in this room, I think I’ll keep the fire door propped open, I think I’ll wear double layers and wait outside, I think I need to stay on the sidelines, I think I need to be in the throng, I think I destroyed you, I think I’m sinking back into warm & familiar devastation, I think “sorry” isn’t good enough, I think one day I’ll look back on this and smile at its golden-dripping triviality, I think I want to force you into something, I think I need to find a patch of quiet that solves everything, I think I need to be newborn and swaddled, I think I’ll skip dinner, I think I’ll binge cartoons, I think I’ll unplug, I think I’ll weather the storm, I think I’ll let the sleet pummel me raw, I think I’ll sleep all day again, I think I’ll add an extra blanket, I think I can hear from you without falling apart, I think I’ll never get over it, I think you’re a stranger to me now, I think there’s no answer without you, I think this trauma is very old, I think this sorrow goes beyond you and me, I think all I want is your body and redemption, I think I’ll ask just once more, I think I already know the answer, I think I’ll let the clock run out and then beg for more time, I think I want you to be happy no matter what, I think that last one was a lie, I think I’ll burn down your home state, I think I’ll save the helpless creatures, I think I’ll sacrifice myself, I think I’ll take a breath and make a different choice, I think the world is closing in on itself, I think I look weary, I think it’s all wasted on me, I think there’s no more floor to fall through, I think tomorrow will be better, I think I can survive

(2021)

A Pantoum For A Poet’s New Voice

I have nothing left to say.
What does a dry well do in dead heat?
Reverberates the sound, I suppose –
Of what clawing animal, I do not know.

What does a dry well do in dead heat?
Gathers the stifle, hoards the wet memory
Of what clawing animal, I do not know.
The air pressed at the stone rim pleads for a song.

Gathers the stifle, hoards the wet memory
Reverberates the sound, I suppose –
The air pressed at the stone rim pleads for a song.
I have nothing left to say.

(2020)

Hope / Blue

*the words “Blue” and “Hope” are interchangeable*

The sky is absent of ____
until the fog burns off around midday –
a deeper ____ invited to each clear night nestled with stars

My walls are stained with it
(bathroom ____ bleeds to kitchen ____)
I’m cloaked in soft ____

Dry my hands on ____,
wear it thin on my chest and thighs
(____ can chafe in the name of appearances –
I peel it off and slip into a cozier ____ at day’s end)

____ never leaves my eyes
even when flecked with sunlight
at a fierce angle, even when
clouded over, a disappointment
seeping out from somewhere

I leak ____.
I smell of it.

____ in the ring he gave me
____ in the ring I still wear
____ ringing in my ears, lingering
on my lips, an anthem echoing
a deep cut

____ when alone
In a wrong crowd: more ____ still
In his company: Is there a word beyond ____?

(2020)