comme il faut (prompt 24)

did you think that I’d sit home and cry – that I would
allow myself to fall to fits, with no
regard for what they’ll think of my smudged
lipstick and mascara drips
I wouldn’t consider it – I’d
never dream of
giving that vulnerability to a stranger that hasn’t earned it

dangerous angels (prompt 23)

I think it was in fall 2011 when I took a paintbrush to the bedroom wall
in the house that we both shared
sitting on my bed you watched me shape the words in shiny black


I’ve always wondered if you painted over it when I left
or if you allowed it to stay long after I was gone
you’re the only person I ever read an entire book out loud to

but now you are gone too

maybe some part of me could see ahead and it was meant to be a message

love was dangerous
and you
became an angel


softer (prompt 22)

it was missing all this time but I never really noticed
if I had never met you, I’d still be searching for it
without a name or a description
just knowing that a void exists
with only theories on what more I was lacking

I thought I needed someone strong
they’d have to be strong – stronger than me
I never considered tenderness a quality
that could sooth my constant ache

isn’t it strange when we hear “tender”
and instead envision “weak”

it was softness that allowed me
to walk through rooms unguarded
not steel plated unbreakable
a wild card brought me to life

I needed someone who didn’t have
to try so hard
to be so hard
to make it hard
to love me

I thought it would amount to strength
it was a man with the wisdom to be gentle

the classy type (prompt 21)

don’t make me choose
between mundane indifferences
the lesser of two evils
never equals satisfaction

I want both
nothing at all

I’ll commit to every season
with a taste for hungry almond eyes
and that rare fox
who offers to walk me home
sharing her umbrella


echo husband (prompt 20)

it’s been said that I talk too much
since I was a child
too animated and dramatic
too fast to keep up with

my mouth and mind
always spinning out
yet somehow I can never
arrive on time

when I do
I always expect to be talked over
interrupted and cut off
seldom heard

but when you part your lips and
recite my last words – verbatim
you show me that
you’re listening

and if I don’t have to fight
to be respected and received
for the first time in my life
I am ready to shut the fuck up

false advertising (prompt 19)

all of my life I imagined you
and you were unattainable
the end of the rainbow
too grandiose to fathom
I wanted your nighttime cityscape skylines
to wear like a sequined belt

I left everything behind to follow you
you called and I listened
arrived too late and found the Hollywood sign unlit
your glitter turned to grit and ground me up
stretched me to my limits
showed me just how much I could take

without breaking

I can’t wait to get rid of you
your pot of gold was a mirage
the vampire city draining
claiming there’s “opportunity here”
mostly these roads seem to dead end
and I’ve outgrown the sirens

not in vain (prompt 15)

several years ago scientists were able
to create a beating human heart
with a spinach leaf

the vascular systems found in this plant
resemble our own so intricately
it can be layered to create cardiac tissue

so I will not be told
that magic isn’t real
no doubts that we are all connected

it is beating and pulsing with viscous life
passion mapped electric and conscious
all that I’ve wanted is proof

something substantial to support my claims
to validate my dreaming nature
my lust for life

crawling up that hill (prompt 17)

I couldn’t make it through the episode without dissolving in a fit of tears
like exposure therapy like the fullest release like finally being seen
in my exquisite suffering
not unique to me but rarely written into scenes
I’ve never seen it played back that way

I observed hopefully, intently, as others watched it too
but I’m confused – didn’t you see what I saw?

are the parallels being lost
are we on the same channel
is this thing even on?

how was the similarity not jarring
all too familiar warning signs
until they’re fighting to pull her close
almost too late

pleading that they are right here
they don’t want letters
they want to be let in

but it’s not that fucking easy


this creature is a curse that lingers peripheral
whispers in your sleep
steals you right out from underneath their noses

and you fight it
with everything you have
running for your life
screaming and flailing
barely escaping
this time

this time

until you wake up in that haunted place again
on unsuspecting days
that creeping headache never fully releasing
it’s grip
it’s got it’s claws dug in
wake up running again
fighting again
body on the verge of breaking
it wants to wear you down
catch you when you’re alone
at your most defenseless

how long can it be drowned out with music
with memories of better days of connection of loved ones still living
before the grief and the fear and the guilt

those bittersweet moments
seared into the front of your mind
like your survival depends on them
projected large and clear
impossible to miss
impossible to leave behind
dragging you back from the ledge

the same ledge I’ve been on for half of my life
carved my initials into it years ago
so that you’d know I was no stranger
I want you to see it
I want you to understand

that this is a curse – sinister and dangerous
contagious and invisible

until you learn what to look for

Georgia, I am still grateful (prompt 18)

white writers write about flowers
limited by brightly colored metaphors
easy descriptions
simplicity and safety

takes less to swallow and sell
than we budgeted for
best to stick with what we know
lilies and orchids and baby’s breath

the flower shop on the corner
in downtown Albuquerque
my roller blades at the front door
while I’m organizing stacks of cards

Georgia’s hands soft and calculated
curling ribbon with the edge of a blade
removing thorns from long stemmed roses
a balance of violence and grace

her husband passed suddenly
unpreventable – a hole in his heart
I was always impressed
by how her heart remained so whole

we had met when she let me make a bouquet
and trusted that I’d return later to pay for it
I came back every day for the scent
and the safety of that cool damp room

the one that preserved
kept crisp and fresh
petals pressed open frozen lightly dewed
I wanted to be the same

never left to wilt or shrivel forgotten
on a hot dashboard
to dry out in a waterless vase
for the balance of violence and grace
Georgia, I am still grateful

a woman still weeping (prompt 14)

don’t go to the river don’t stray too far 
can’t you hear 
her coyote cry

parents warning
she will take you
I wished that she would

I wished to be taken
into the arms of a mournful mother
to bury my face against
a soaked white dress
dripping with guilt

existing only
to love her children
the spirit of remorse

take me with you
teach me to swim
let us both stop weeping

1 2 3 8