The apple tree

the bench beneath the apple tree

has collapsed like my

grandmother’s lungs

but the tree still gives fruit and she

still makes dinner folds

clothes

 

see when a tree dies it does

so slowly piece by piece until

the dead weight is too much it

 

starts

from the inside

 

my grandmother doesn’t smoke

three packs a day

anymore but her breath

sounds like the rustle of

dead leaves her cough

like branches snapping

 

a limb from the apple tree

has collapsed like my

grandfather’s legs

but the tree still gives fruit the

light in his barn is always on

 

he is auctioning off the last

of the cars he built buying

a handicap van he

 

sits down next to me on

the new bench

and as my grandmother

makes her way toward us

and the the limbs hang heavy

above us he smiles and says

I did good, kid.  I did good.   

Depression

 

I am like the moon

dead inside but still

glowing

more whole some

days than others and

sometimes

disappearing but

 

even when the moon is shrouded

in darkness no one doubts

her right to

take up space

 

her beauty is all reflection how

the light bends toward her

 

and though the sun makes her

invisible after daylight has long

given up

she

shines

beautifully

 

until the sun remembers how

This is Halloween

my face is

lit up like

a jack-o-

lantern smiling but

hollow the

insomnia eats

my brain my

bones creak

with every

step we

 

have all the

parts we

need to

make

monsters

of

ourselves

Amen

 

 

the mantle of god has fallen

and heaven is beneath us

 

an angel is wrapped around

satan’s hips her wings torn and

scattered like rose petals across

hotel bedsheets the holy has been

fucked dry the water turned to

wine so

forgive yourself your sin

 

 

the mantle of god has fallen

and we are trapped inside this

snowglobe writing love notes to

the darkness so the light

will continue to grow we

call it

praying

but heaven is beneath us

monochromatic and untouchable like

happiness something to be chased until

we realize we’ve been standing on

it the whole time and hell is just

what we keep inside

a Pandora’s box of

shame and childhood trauma not to be

talked about at the dinner table or anytime

after and home is where

the heart is and

 

 

heaven is beneath us and

the mantle of god has fallen

The stars have anxiety

the tongue loosened too far

by laughter the falter that comes

before the fall

 

it is not the end of the world but

it could be the end of me

it is not the end of the world but

it could be the end of me

 

inconsequential I am just a product

of gravity misplaced stardust that

stumbles over words like rubble

inevitable

earthquake

look

 

life is too short to say anything that isn’t

I love you we are all standing on fault

lines the world will never stand still

for us but right now

this moment

I love you and oh god there

is the silence the world is making

itself in reverse except

 

it is not the end of the world but

it could be the end of me

it is not the end of the world but

it could be the end of me

 

it’s not so strange if you remember that

we are all beams of light underneath we

are all made of the same stuff I wish

we could connect like constellations like

neutron stars which could actually be the

end of the world but right now

it is not the end of the world but

it could be the end of me

it is not the end of the world but

it could be the end of me

Father,

what is it like to walk in my

footsteps to see what killed

you curled at the bottom of

unopened tequila bottles

in my kitchen like

 

you’re not sure if it’s your

reflection or your pride I

keep chasing but our eyes

are the same shade of blue and

time has turned itself inside

out for you

 

father

 

what’s it like

to watch pieces of your daughter’s

liver die / you left until there was

nowhere else to go I do

the shot straight no chaser standing

before the mirror staring into the

lines of my face of what’s left

of you there

 

father

 

you never understood why people

would drink alcohol but

the tequila burns away the smell

of hospital rooms the crackle of the fire

in the nursing home the last time you

said goodbye my mother’s tears

set into my shoulder like a scar

 

and father some nights like

tonight the tequila helps me

miss you

Repurposed

my chest is a ticking
time bomb with no solution
unbalanced and bent
but you make sense of it

the hollow of your chest is safe
from explosions your hands your
eyes the crook of your neck leave
me mostly undone you know

that I was made to self-destruct / the
chemicals in my brain tell me how
to end things and my heartbeat is a timer
that you keep turning back into a
heartbeat

darling
you are the only shelter I know
that can keep me safe from
myself / I promise that you
can always depend on me like
clockwork

Preserves

we finally ran out of summers you
could keep in mason jars
on your shelf
and every time I remember something I
am just remembering the last time
I remembered it

the last of the home-canned
tomatos are emptied
into the soup and
it won’t be long until
we forget the flavor
of 2013

Flirtations

without the poetry
I create only chaos

my veins rise like a
lover to the thought
of pain the panic takes
hold in quiet moments of
conversation I
am in love with the

slow and steady gaze
of a person confessing
their deepest secrets because when
people are hurting they want to
feel understood and
I am always hurting

and without the poetry
I create only chaos

Totaled

his long fingers stretched across my fingers curled

around the sword handle like cracks

in a car windshield.  the slow motion

sets in.  I look up at him, the tiny

crescent moon on his chin, an old scar

that grew with him.  he peers down at me

and I can feel the warmth of his chest

behind my shoulder. I am glowing.  he laughs and

draws closer, almost an embrace.  his fingers

are warm and smooth on mine.

he straightens my back with one

hand, the other still tight on my

closed fist.

good he whispers, and then the

warmth is gone and the world

is in motion once more, his absence

cold against my back.

a tree whips across my vision. my seatbelt

snaps into my ribs, steals my breath.  he is running

alongside me.  steady he tells me.

don’t let the speed distract you.  

my mother is screaming and all

I can see is the face he makes

when his shoulder hurts the

curl of his fingers over my

fingers the snap in his strike fire

in his eyes the car

is off of the road.

1 2 3