Poetry

Driving in the Snow

I love being inside a snow globe—visiting a miniature village of snowmen or elves or penguins, ice skating by a quaint gingerbread house, or standing beside the Empire State Building, the Liberty Bell, Mount Rushmore or waving from a balcony in Cinderella’s castle, or...

Maybe, Maybe

I might find another dog. Maybe next year, after I’ve finished
with this year’s therapist, done with all that talking about the
unsuccessful talking I’ve done with other people, maybe I’ll be
stripped down to just walking or sitting and saying Good dog!

The Bridge

The bridge hung over dark waters there was a place to get on if you wanted to go somewhere there were painted parts where the graffiti had been covered there were torn down posters and fagins the city you could see from the river was the heights the only place I ever sat was by one end looking out over my home and scorning the people and the changing lights but still for all it hung there was one place the bridge could not take you.

Two Poems

half a percent of baby seahorses survive to adulthood male seahorses carry the children & lay them on the church steps at the feet of God my brother & me we were the children we had a holy light within us & everyone told my father you carried such good boys

Spoiler

Today, the ambulance bulked yellow through the trees for you, and this is the kind of poem I will only show people in the event things turn out fine. In your absence, dusk and summer twinned and twined so I thought of different hills to these, sky losing its blaze...

Woe, Wrong, Wound

Grief, n. Seven brush fires raged in my little county on Labor Day. On sidewalks, paint spells Careful, but you have to be looking down already to read that. A town on the eastern side of the state is gone now. It took only three days. You know what else happens in...

Maybe If

Maybe if I dress better, in swank pant suits. Maybe if I style my hair differently. Maybe if I cut it shorter, so it looks tamed. Maybe if I wear it longer, so it looks feminine. Maybe if I wear makeup. Maybe if I get Botox. Maybe if I wear high heels. Maybe if I wear...

Poem After Poem

After Rachel Zucker’s “Poem” from Museum of Accidents Rachel Zucker wrote that Matt Roher told her not to go dark in a poem or rather when she sensed it was getting dark she should just not & Matt Roher told Chad Sweeney that he would read at Cobra Milk in...

Solar Flare

To discover how to be human now. Is the reason we follow this star –Auden The flare wasn’t aimed directly towards Earth, NASA just released. The largest solar flare in recorded history. There’s a magnetic swirl of iron and molten, larger than the world’s oceans...

My Hollows

– for Gary Snyder Let me say these words now, in the light, before you go – Wind across the North Cascades is unbearably quiet this morning I never hitchhiked a thousand miles of summer highway, put up hay, painted a boat, never stood beside footstones in a garden...

Three Poems

Things that Barely Move The continents. The hour hand. The arms of a cactus. Your chest while sleeping. Two magnets shaped like halves of an egg. An egg. A spider that knows you see it. Love. A birthmark. The brain. Any play written by a sculptor. The two of us that...

A Different Wish

Traffic stops in both directions. I cross, past the stem of a truck, a sign of uprootedness. Outside the house where I once lived. Where a truck ponied through thick stems. Now the deprived porch has the power to stop lights, crushes before its crushed, writes drafts...

The Dark Woods

1 There are those who stand among the huge trunks of old trees and hear a silence made by things beyond our influence. This silence was heard by those who raised gothic cathedrals in Europe, in which we can stand today and hear redwoods sipping mists from the Pacific....

Anachronisms

Jane Morris Reads Wide Sargasso Sea as She Sits for Rosetti the fascination of a captive woman. the impossible pulp of full lips & large sad eyes, the long pale fingers fiddling with her wedding band as she anxiously awaits her husband’s rage. her thick auburn...

Broken Pools

i. a warm hand open. two eyes night-shaped. fingers or feet having waved aside the tidal comforter. frogs had their feat last night. the way they started slowly with the first drop and built it up, note by note, like a slow sea rising. ii. you could tell the world had...

Somnolent

When the fatigue began again, I welcomed it like an old friend, like the one who stopped calling right after we shared an expensive meal. After that, I told someone how I was tired; right in my soul, which I felt, was a feathery thing. I pointed to my sunken...

Divorce Conditionals

If you were here I would tell you the story of my life since we split up and hope we both could find forgiveness. If you were here I would show you where I threw my ring, the birch and aspen trees that watch over it, the raven that picks at snow trying to find it. If...

I Try Not to Place a Brow in

This is the fourth season—counting backwards, that I haven’t heard from her. I’d met Madeleine in September, and left her there, too, eight years later by the Salines, red-brown and ribbed as her hair in rain. It’s difficult to tell apart what the heart remembers, and...

Tik Tok Dance Tutorial

1. Hands in front of you, sway hips x2. A woman with parts of her stomach injected into her ass is teaching us how to dance. 2. Draw heart on chest. She doesn’t ask us to adore her, she doesn’t have to. 3. Tap each wrist x4. I’ve lost whole years of my life watching...

The Saddest Music

Then, by a tree, we come to a stop. I think of impetus as a mysterious intrinsic property. The perseverance of things in themselves. How this tree, for example, persisting in its treeness, will eventually envelop this wrought iron railing. Will subsume all foreign...

hemianopia

one. i didn’t look in mirrors. glass refracts broken images that remind you of the way you shimmer shimmer unreal in your own mind. everything outside your head is in your head, still. one reality warping yet another. a gelatinous fragment of the passionate sun,...

Verdant Hope

I longed for spring, and it came, not sun and crocuses but frigid rains, drifts drowned away in a day, and undying winds. Restless, Spring moved to my living room. What to do with Grandmother’s once prized rug, these sodden cushions? Vines laced through our new...

Rabbit Hole

I Mom hires a magician for my eighth birthday party/ We have it at the Red Room at the Officers Club in Mcguire Air Force Base/Somehow a lot of friends appear/There is a rabbit[There is always a rabbit] & a man in a white suit rolls out an extra-large sheet cake...

Instead

This was my first Father’s Day Without my Father. As the son of a workaholic, I don’t know if working on this expired holiday honored him or distanced myself from him. Every dad entering with his kids to buy them something... bittersweet like aspartame, a sugar...

On the third night without

sleep, I’m a fogged mirror. On the fourth night, I’m a snake, a lizard sliding legless. On the fifth night, I’m a puddle, a flat tire, a melted iron lung somehow still breathing. On the sixth night, I’m you, who you were, the you I knew before this...

Unsettling

Thrown for a loop(another failed romance)left uneasy I’d planned to retire early anyway(I hadn’t planned to move)but 30 years in California I thought, just go That I went in the direction of the failure was coincidencefew dared ask if I moved to Austin because of...

Mark My Words

You can dump mein the general waste bin,or the lost & found box of a hospital.You can bury me undera nameless gravestoneat someone’s abandonedbackyard. You cantreat me like a pub toilet,write dirty words all overmy walls, scrape them,and vomit on my tired vinyl...

My Sister Doesn’t Remember

That scary dude we saw at the Safeway after the clubs closed.No, but I remember dancing at that lesbian club, she says.It was our 23rd birthday! My first visit to San Francisco.But nothing rings a bell about that dude on the checkout line.No, she says. I do remember...

The Inventor

after Maze, dir. J. Lenica, 1962 The man with the mechanical bird wings watches over the city and thinks to join it. But with him he brings the ticking of a clock. The skeleton of a dinosaur. An old man who can never leave the window. He will do the improbable. He...

Henrietta

Henrietta wonders what haunts me It wasn’t his whoop into the deep end, or how his mother had punched out her cigarette, one eye slit in the smoke, before plunging in to save him. And it wasn’t their legs churning like chum, or how I inhaled the sky and dove under....

There’s a Fix for That

Do you prefer adding or subtracting? Yeah, me too. Fortunately, I was raised by a circus family, so I got a head start. Some people think there is a science to it, but it’s really just the elephant of surprise. Of course, it takes two to tango, but it’s always great...

Boys in jeans

on greased up hogs say Hey,shuffle in. Black stains and dustat the cuffs. Open road’s been goodto them. So good, the open road’srough throat. The songs it singsthrough the ache in their legs,the dull throb in the groin. Muscles pullon bones as they stretch betweenthis...

Dinner at the Brady’s

The Brady Bunch are carnivorous,I know because I crawl into the TVand have dinner with them.Sometimes they invite my sister, too.Their sheep dog is also carnivorousAnd so is Alice, their cook.My Mom and Dad are vegetarian.They are orange vegetarian parentsAnd even our...

Person, Woman, Man, Camera, TV

Person The first five lines are always shit.A shock to the heart. Heartbeats cut each other offlike fine gems, end over endocarditis. No joke, perhapshyperbole? Though believe me when I saythe brow may be the only honest muscle in my face. Woman Such to the simple...

Roots

Tomato musk clings to our skin, numb fingertips, and our breath plumes and hovers unspoken thoughts above our heads. Smoke signals. Warnings pretend not to see. Jude and I grip sturdy stems, tug until the roots rip free. Were these vines less rooted, it would be much...

Daughter

Adrienne Barrios wonders if Leigh Chadwick’s daughter will ever read these poems and feel the way a coyote feels when returning to its den after a long hunt, or if she’ll think, Wow, these are weird and Who the fuck is Adrienne Barrios, or if she’ll feel nothing at...

Notes on Cycles

on the train, streaks of sky, green, beyond this roaring, I’m an adult with hungry gums, today I stole a peach-pink bra, there is no milk to soothe, both our bellies swelled, a night or so ago, a dusty blue-grey couch, I am only looking for somewhere soft to rest my...

Destination

I am in a parking lot & Dad appears. I gather quickly this is a dream because I don’t own an Odyssey anymore & Dad passed nine years ago. I ask him if he is driving and he tells me to take the wheel. Question this more than his not having gray hair, or a...

If A took everything

she left a shell for me to sleep in. i did a baby’s crawl inside. i loved the future in which nothing was taken. once, we belonged to the earth and our return will be long-awaited. my body aches. i am reminded the ways i’ve stretched thin. i anthropomorphize the...

Static

The bedroom smells like furniture polish so                     I must’ve tossed the rags in with the sheets again. Light from the bedside table burns my fingertips....

Love Is An Umbrella Term

The lightning moves in next door. Now I am in love with the lightning’s wife. The lightning’s wife is forever poolside. The lightning and his son build a muscle car in the garage. Nothing is impossible for a willing heart. You have never seen thunder bathe in the...

<3 Your Biggest Stan

I am obsessed with _ _ is obsessed with _(not me) I read everything by _ my journal is full of poems to and about _ a letter I wrote but don’t send reads:I always feel you are closer to me than you areand alsoit is almost like we are friends is it a higher form of...

Look Back

And Orpheus, leading his lovefrom the cold caves of death,might understand the way my grandmothercut credit card confettiso no one could steal her identity. How can I explain the place where she lived? The ice cream shop is cash-only,dandelions in the sidewalks,the...

Night

At night, I become my mother’s breath, swirling into the air, never to be seen again. That, or I come up short sealing the deal with every man or woman I’ve ever thought about sealing the deal with. That, or I put on my wife’s heels and practice walking down the...

Green Card Girl

I To come to you—I navigated bitter winds crossed oceans blind told the old world: I rescind. To be with you—I renounced my name faced down suited men left the birthing hips, never to return again. To sink into you—I sat in the waiting room...

The ghosts I choose

You were a lighthouse like Antigone.  Coins pressed soft on each of her brothers' eyelids.  Protecting baby-boy from the bloody shock of his own bones.  Like medusa burying a snake from her head, you wrapped him like an umbilical chord.  To bury in...

Gravity

A penny glued to the ground is no different than love. Each a kindergarten lesson in futility and persistence. Chinese finger traps between us, our pulling brings us only closer, the gravity of us two planets drawing more near unwavering from our collision course...

Cold call

God, I’m expecting to hear from youAny day now, something winged alighting upon me,A Rush of Cochineal —The terms of the visitation I leave to your discretion. Superposition helps, as well as love —Though you must already understand, as you do the whorlsOf shells and...

Translations of Nostalgia

I had a weekend, pictures. I went aroundsightseeing all the old haunts. (Those still standing.)A photo of an old blue house cracked and faded,paint still on the surface.(A wish for wood glue and happiness.) The front door hingesstill held with crooked nails, a...

Forensic

Every time I turned around, someone told me my footing was off.  That my feet, firmly planted or otherwise, were in question.  It began as a joke that I began playing with myself, to identify people by the crinkle of skin around their hyper focused eyes.  I was...

Butterfly Cage, The Light

Butterfly Cage when I was pregnant, all of my dreamswere about snakes. as much as I triedto dream only about baby kittens, baby puppieshuman babies, my nights would be filledwith twisting pythons gathered in knotsinside me, their slick skin undulatingin the dark,...

SEAWALL

It’s called edge collapse:Roots have nothing to hold onto.Ghost trees enclose the livingon a ridge, outside, moving in,on islands all over the Gulf,one thousand abandoned oil rigs. The city tip-toeshere and there. Our childrenlearn from books, cartoonsand...

Svalbard

I nearly went to Svalbard. That was before the news feature on the shot polar bear, the result of an ice safari. I was off to a conference on darkness. I didn’t see the foxes on the tundra, the aurora, or hear the paper on Verdi’s operas. I didn’t buy a passport, told...

Hom, or Someplace Like It

I know I’m being followed so I scoot into Hom furniture and pantomime a little showtune past a couple who are mid-argument near the sofas and theatre seating to dispel any cringe the 5-inch scar swathed across my head is itchier than a mug and reminds me to check in...

Sweet Insects

Best not to use this video, it contains the word cancer which can be triggering for some. Cancer triggers another triggers another. That is how half my mother’s family died. The other half only half-dead. Half-dead in that their bodies are limp, though they power...

Grown Home

Fire in the bookshelf,down low, askingHow long will you keep on asking?My hands never grew completelyeven into the waiting. Waterfalls without a tongue.It's sick to be alone in this roomand not recognize anyone.Imagine the beast shot, turning.Empty heart.I lasheduntil...

The Price of Freedom

In a world without water, gold dust is only dust. In a house without light, a boy stands on tiptoes to sweep high ledges, sneezing in disturbed plumes. His knees are bruised from stone steps and his wrists are chafed by imaginary cords that keep him indoors. Some days...

Crop and Delete

You crop and delete the pieces of him from your life slowly but with perseverance, until two years later there’s nothing left. There’s no new recipes stuck to the fridge, no Heinekens left on its shelves. No more expensive coffee taking up room in cupboards, no soya...

Bar Mitzvah

The day my father lost his voice speaking Hebrew, no one laughed, silence like a foundation, airy as the firmament. This day he was born, he was made to choose his mother, accept the father letting go: Blessed is He who has now freed me from the responsibility of this...

The Unbearable Inertia of Clothes

My clothes are ready to go—wings tacked on,leather belt snug, holey jeans unfolded, ready for the road or the Australiancane toads layered over it in blanketed miles. Hanging on the edge of flight, my clothesknow better than I which direction to go— run clothes from...

Mother as Conjunction

Spring 2020 I’ve had daughters move home on their way from one frayed relationship to the unknown. The tear-swollen eyes. The packed hatchback, mauve bedspread smashed against the passenger window. This is different. Two of my grown children are here for the duration....

Love Poem for Mr. Miyagi

From the first moment I saw you through that screen door,chopsticks in hand, I knew I had finally founda teacher to call my own.You started teaching us from the very beginning.When you turned around and gave Daniel that starewe all knew your first lesson: knock, don’t...

On Fire (Or, Last Wishes)

There is fire on the mountainAnd nobody seems to be on the runThere is fire on the mountaintopAnd no one is a-running —ASA, Fire on the Mountain I wish everyone I love              the joy of dancing naked. Tonight, I am holding a piece of chicken              from...

Fair and Lovely

we believed the neighborhood voicesthat said fair was most beautiful before they brought the ointmentturmeric, yogurt, and honey your face was buttermilkunder the nightlightthat one sideways molar, a diamond once you fit in your father’s palmswhen you arriveda pink...

Rituals

My love This morning mamá came into the kitchen and handed me her morral My love You dug out an ancestral pain inherited from my grandmother to my mother to me My love Mi mama, she has always told me que las penas con pan son menos So I make myself a taco with all...

Driving in the Snow

I love being inside a snow globe—visiting a miniature village of snowmen or elves or penguins, ice skating by a quaint gingerbread house, or standing beside the Empire State Building, the Liberty Bell, Mount Rushmore or waving from a balcony in Cinderella’s castle, or...

Maybe, Maybe

I might find another dog. Maybe next year, after I’ve finished
with this year’s therapist, done with all that talking about the
unsuccessful talking I’ve done with other people, maybe I’ll be
stripped down to just walking or sitting and saying Good dog!

The Bridge

The bridge hung over dark waters there was a place to get on if you wanted to go somewhere there were painted parts where the graffiti had been covered there were torn down posters and fagins the city you could see from the river was the heights the only place I ever sat was by one end looking out over my home and scorning the people and the changing lights but still for all it hung there was one place the bridge could not take you.

Two Poems

half a percent of baby seahorses survive to adulthood male seahorses carry the children & lay them on the church steps at the feet of God my brother & me we were the children we had a holy light within us & everyone told my father you carried such good boys

Spoiler

Today, the ambulance bulked yellow through the trees for you, and this is the kind of poem I will only show people in the event things turn out fine. In your absence, dusk and summer twinned and twined so I thought of different hills to these, sky losing its blaze...

Dislocated

If you ask me why I left Michigan,
I would tell that you that it wasn’t because
Of the weather which left me with a bloated album of waiting
for the blackouts

Woe, Wrong, Wound

Grief, n. Seven brush fires raged in my little county on Labor Day. On sidewalks, paint spells Careful, but you have to be looking down already to read that. A town on the eastern side of the state is gone now. It took only three days. You know what else happens in...

Maybe If

Maybe if I dress better, in swank pant suits. Maybe if I style my hair differently. Maybe if I cut it shorter, so it looks tamed. Maybe if I wear it longer, so it looks feminine. Maybe if I wear makeup. Maybe if I get Botox. Maybe if I wear high heels. Maybe if I wear...

Poem After Poem

After Rachel Zucker’s “Poem” from Museum of Accidents Rachel Zucker wrote that Matt Roher told her not to go dark in a poem or rather when she sensed it was getting dark she should just not & Matt Roher told Chad Sweeney that he would read at Cobra Milk in...

Solar Flare

To discover how to be human now. Is the reason we follow this star –Auden The flare wasn’t aimed directly towards Earth, NASA just released. The largest solar flare in recorded history. There’s a magnetic swirl of iron and molten, larger than the world’s oceans...

My Hollows

– for Gary Snyder Let me say these words now, in the light, before you go – Wind across the North Cascades is unbearably quiet this morning I never hitchhiked a thousand miles of summer highway, put up hay, painted a boat, never stood beside footstones in a garden...

Three Poems

Things that Barely Move The continents. The hour hand. The arms of a cactus. Your chest while sleeping. Two magnets shaped like halves of an egg. An egg. A spider that knows you see it. Love. A birthmark. The brain. Any play written by a sculptor. The two of us that...

A Different Wish

Traffic stops in both directions. I cross, past the stem of a truck, a sign of uprootedness. Outside the house where I once lived. Where a truck ponied through thick stems. Now the deprived porch has the power to stop lights, crushes before its crushed, writes drafts...

The Dark Woods

1 There are those who stand among the huge trunks of old trees and hear a silence made by things beyond our influence. This silence was heard by those who raised gothic cathedrals in Europe, in which we can stand today and hear redwoods sipping mists from the Pacific....

Anachronisms

Jane Morris Reads Wide Sargasso Sea as She Sits for Rosetti the fascination of a captive woman. the impossible pulp of full lips & large sad eyes, the long pale fingers fiddling with her wedding band as she anxiously awaits her husband’s rage. her thick auburn...

Broken Pools

i. a warm hand open. two eyes night-shaped. fingers or feet having waved aside the tidal comforter. frogs had their feat last night. the way they started slowly with the first drop and built it up, note by note, like a slow sea rising. ii. you could tell the world had...

Somnolent

When the fatigue began again, I welcomed it like an old friend, like the one who stopped calling right after we shared an expensive meal. After that, I told someone how I was tired; right in my soul, which I felt, was a feathery thing. I pointed to my sunken...

Divorce Conditionals

If you were here I would tell you the story of my life since we split up and hope we both could find forgiveness. If you were here I would show you where I threw my ring, the birch and aspen trees that watch over it, the raven that picks at snow trying to find it. If...

I Try Not to Place a Brow in

This is the fourth season—counting backwards, that I haven’t heard from her. I’d met Madeleine in September, and left her there, too, eight years later by the Salines, red-brown and ribbed as her hair in rain. It’s difficult to tell apart what the heart remembers, and...

Tik Tok Dance Tutorial

1. Hands in front of you, sway hips x2. A woman with parts of her stomach injected into her ass is teaching us how to dance. 2. Draw heart on chest. She doesn’t ask us to adore her, she doesn’t have to. 3. Tap each wrist x4. I’ve lost whole years of my life watching...

The Saddest Music

Then, by a tree, we come to a stop. I think of impetus as a mysterious intrinsic property. The perseverance of things in themselves. How this tree, for example, persisting in its treeness, will eventually envelop this wrought iron railing. Will subsume all foreign...

hemianopia

one. i didn’t look in mirrors. glass refracts broken images that remind you of the way you shimmer shimmer unreal in your own mind. everything outside your head is in your head, still. one reality warping yet another. a gelatinous fragment of the passionate sun,...

Verdant Hope

I longed for spring, and it came, not sun and crocuses but frigid rains, drifts drowned away in a day, and undying winds. Restless, Spring moved to my living room. What to do with Grandmother’s once prized rug, these sodden cushions? Vines laced through our new...

Rabbit Hole

I Mom hires a magician for my eighth birthday party/ We have it at the Red Room at the Officers Club in Mcguire Air Force Base/Somehow a lot of friends appear/There is a rabbit[There is always a rabbit] & a man in a white suit rolls out an extra-large sheet cake...

Instead

This was my first Father’s Day Without my Father. As the son of a workaholic, I don’t know if working on this expired holiday honored him or distanced myself from him. Every dad entering with his kids to buy them something... bittersweet like aspartame, a sugar...

On the third night without

sleep, I’m a fogged mirror. On the fourth night, I’m a snake, a lizard sliding legless. On the fifth night, I’m a puddle, a flat tire, a melted iron lung somehow still breathing. On the sixth night, I’m you, who you were, the you I knew before this...

Unsettling

Thrown for a loop(another failed romance)left uneasy I’d planned to retire early anyway(I hadn’t planned to move)but 30 years in California I thought, just go That I went in the direction of the failure was coincidencefew dared ask if I moved to Austin because of...

Mark My Words

You can dump mein the general waste bin,or the lost & found box of a hospital.You can bury me undera nameless gravestoneat someone’s abandonedbackyard. You cantreat me like a pub toilet,write dirty words all overmy walls, scrape them,and vomit on my tired vinyl...

Frida at Henry Ford Hospital

A shy sparrow tucked into its mud hole,Never revealing its secret egg,I wanted my empty-nest uterus to sproutFlowers, lascivious fruit. But my cracked shellSpilled out bones and blood, amniotic fluid,And Senor I-Don’t-Give-a-FuckStitched my lips togetherTo keep me...

My Sister Doesn’t Remember

That scary dude we saw at the Safeway after the clubs closed.No, but I remember dancing at that lesbian club, she says.It was our 23rd birthday! My first visit to San Francisco.But nothing rings a bell about that dude on the checkout line.No, she says. I do remember...

The Inventor

after Maze, dir. J. Lenica, 1962 The man with the mechanical bird wings watches over the city and thinks to join it. But with him he brings the ticking of a clock. The skeleton of a dinosaur. An old man who can never leave the window. He will do the improbable. He...

Henrietta

Henrietta wonders what haunts me It wasn’t his whoop into the deep end, or how his mother had punched out her cigarette, one eye slit in the smoke, before plunging in to save him. And it wasn’t their legs churning like chum, or how I inhaled the sky and dove under....

There’s a Fix for That

Do you prefer adding or subtracting? Yeah, me too. Fortunately, I was raised by a circus family, so I got a head start. Some people think there is a science to it, but it’s really just the elephant of surprise. Of course, it takes two to tango, but it’s always great...

Boys in jeans

on greased up hogs say Hey,shuffle in. Black stains and dustat the cuffs. Open road’s been goodto them. So good, the open road’srough throat. The songs it singsthrough the ache in their legs,the dull throb in the groin. Muscles pullon bones as they stretch betweenthis...

Dinner at the Brady’s

The Brady Bunch are carnivorous,I know because I crawl into the TVand have dinner with them.Sometimes they invite my sister, too.Their sheep dog is also carnivorousAnd so is Alice, their cook.My Mom and Dad are vegetarian.They are orange vegetarian parentsAnd even our...

Person, Woman, Man, Camera, TV

Person The first five lines are always shit.A shock to the heart. Heartbeats cut each other offlike fine gems, end over endocarditis. No joke, perhapshyperbole? Though believe me when I saythe brow may be the only honest muscle in my face. Woman Such to the simple...

I have always wanted to be opaque

I imagine your honeycomb / lip balm lingering between the spaces / of my words / my chipped / sentences my declarations of clarity / and I thought fragmentation of the self / meant digestible / meant easy to handle but / staying with a sweet talker / I had to dissect...

Roots

Tomato musk clings to our skin, numb fingertips, and our breath plumes and hovers unspoken thoughts above our heads. Smoke signals. Warnings pretend not to see. Jude and I grip sturdy stems, tug until the roots rip free. Were these vines less rooted, it would be much...

Daughter

Adrienne Barrios wonders if Leigh Chadwick’s daughter will ever read these poems and feel the way a coyote feels when returning to its den after a long hunt, or if she’ll think, Wow, these are weird and Who the fuck is Adrienne Barrios, or if she’ll feel nothing at...

Notes on Cycles

on the train, streaks of sky, green, beyond this roaring, I’m an adult with hungry gums, today I stole a peach-pink bra, there is no milk to soothe, both our bellies swelled, a night or so ago, a dusty blue-grey couch, I am only looking for somewhere soft to rest my...

Destination

I am in a parking lot & Dad appears. I gather quickly this is a dream because I don’t own an Odyssey anymore & Dad passed nine years ago. I ask him if he is driving and he tells me to take the wheel. Question this more than his not having gray hair, or a...

List of all the Things We Got Right

You were never shy with your smile—blazing white, upright vanilla snow cones.I was a ghost on the days you looked through me, but my heart would still halt mid-clang like a dinner bell had given up, a mother aware that her kids had long run off.Unlocked windows, an...

If A took everything

she left a shell for me to sleep in. i did a baby’s crawl inside. i loved the future in which nothing was taken. once, we belonged to the earth and our return will be long-awaited. my body aches. i am reminded the ways i’ve stretched thin. i anthropomorphize the...

Static

The bedroom smells like furniture polish so                     I must’ve tossed the rags in with the sheets again. Light from the bedside table burns my fingertips....

Love Is An Umbrella Term

The lightning moves in next door. Now I am in love with the lightning’s wife. The lightning’s wife is forever poolside. The lightning and his son build a muscle car in the garage. Nothing is impossible for a willing heart. You have never seen thunder bathe in the...

<3 Your Biggest Stan

I am obsessed with _ _ is obsessed with _(not me) I read everything by _ my journal is full of poems to and about _ a letter I wrote but don’t send reads:I always feel you are closer to me than you areand alsoit is almost like we are friends is it a higher form of...

Look Back

And Orpheus, leading his lovefrom the cold caves of death,might understand the way my grandmothercut credit card confettiso no one could steal her identity. How can I explain the place where she lived? The ice cream shop is cash-only,dandelions in the sidewalks,the...

Night

At night, I become my mother’s breath, swirling into the air, never to be seen again. That, or I come up short sealing the deal with every man or woman I’ve ever thought about sealing the deal with. That, or I put on my wife’s heels and practice walking down the...

Green Card Girl

I To come to you—I navigated bitter winds crossed oceans blind told the old world: I rescind. To be with you—I renounced my name faced down suited men left the birthing hips, never to return again. To sink into you—I sat in the waiting room...

The ghosts I choose

You were a lighthouse like Antigone.  Coins pressed soft on each of her brothers' eyelids.  Protecting baby-boy from the bloody shock of his own bones.  Like medusa burying a snake from her head, you wrapped him like an umbilical chord.  To bury in...

Gravity

A penny glued to the ground is no different than love. Each a kindergarten lesson in futility and persistence. Chinese finger traps between us, our pulling brings us only closer, the gravity of us two planets drawing more near unwavering from our collision course...

Cold call

God, I’m expecting to hear from youAny day now, something winged alighting upon me,A Rush of Cochineal —The terms of the visitation I leave to your discretion. Superposition helps, as well as love —Though you must already understand, as you do the whorlsOf shells and...

Translations of Nostalgia

I had a weekend, pictures. I went aroundsightseeing all the old haunts. (Those still standing.)A photo of an old blue house cracked and faded,paint still on the surface.(A wish for wood glue and happiness.) The front door hingesstill held with crooked nails, a...

Forensic

Every time I turned around, someone told me my footing was off.  That my feet, firmly planted or otherwise, were in question.  It began as a joke that I began playing with myself, to identify people by the crinkle of skin around their hyper focused eyes.  I was...

Butterfly Cage, The Light

Butterfly Cage when I was pregnant, all of my dreamswere about snakes. as much as I triedto dream only about baby kittens, baby puppieshuman babies, my nights would be filledwith twisting pythons gathered in knotsinside me, their slick skin undulatingin the dark,...

SEAWALL

It’s called edge collapse:Roots have nothing to hold onto.Ghost trees enclose the livingon a ridge, outside, moving in,on islands all over the Gulf,one thousand abandoned oil rigs. The city tip-toeshere and there. Our childrenlearn from books, cartoonsand...

Svalbard

I nearly went to Svalbard. That was before the news feature on the shot polar bear, the result of an ice safari. I was off to a conference on darkness. I didn’t see the foxes on the tundra, the aurora, or hear the paper on Verdi’s operas. I didn’t buy a passport, told...

Hom, or Someplace Like It

I know I’m being followed so I scoot into Hom furniture and pantomime a little showtune past a couple who are mid-argument near the sofas and theatre seating to dispel any cringe the 5-inch scar swathed across my head is itchier than a mug and reminds me to check in...

Sweet Insects

Best not to use this video, it contains the word cancer which can be triggering for some. Cancer triggers another triggers another. That is how half my mother’s family died. The other half only half-dead. Half-dead in that their bodies are limp, though they power...

Grown Home

Fire in the bookshelf,down low, askingHow long will you keep on asking?My hands never grew completelyeven into the waiting. Waterfalls without a tongue.It's sick to be alone in this roomand not recognize anyone.Imagine the beast shot, turning.Empty heart.I lasheduntil...

The Price of Freedom

In a world without water, gold dust is only dust. In a house without light, a boy stands on tiptoes to sweep high ledges, sneezing in disturbed plumes. His knees are bruised from stone steps and his wrists are chafed by imaginary cords that keep him indoors. Some days...

Crop and Delete

You crop and delete the pieces of him from your life slowly but with perseverance, until two years later there’s nothing left. There’s no new recipes stuck to the fridge, no Heinekens left on its shelves. No more expensive coffee taking up room in cupboards, no soya...

Bar Mitzvah

The day my father lost his voice speaking Hebrew, no one laughed, silence like a foundation, airy as the firmament. This day he was born, he was made to choose his mother, accept the father letting go: Blessed is He who has now freed me from the responsibility of this...

The Unbearable Inertia of Clothes

My clothes are ready to go—wings tacked on,leather belt snug, holey jeans unfolded, ready for the road or the Australiancane toads layered over it in blanketed miles. Hanging on the edge of flight, my clothesknow better than I which direction to go— run clothes from...

Mother as Conjunction

Spring 2020 I’ve had daughters move home on their way from one frayed relationship to the unknown. The tear-swollen eyes. The packed hatchback, mauve bedspread smashed against the passenger window. This is different. Two of my grown children are here for the duration....

Love Poem for Mr. Miyagi

From the first moment I saw you through that screen door,chopsticks in hand, I knew I had finally founda teacher to call my own.You started teaching us from the very beginning.When you turned around and gave Daniel that starewe all knew your first lesson: knock, don’t...

On Fire (Or, Last Wishes)

There is fire on the mountainAnd nobody seems to be on the runThere is fire on the mountaintopAnd no one is a-running —ASA, Fire on the Mountain I wish everyone I love              the joy of dancing naked. Tonight, I am holding a piece of chicken              from...

Fair and Lovely

we believed the neighborhood voicesthat said fair was most beautiful before they brought the ointmentturmeric, yogurt, and honey your face was buttermilkunder the nightlightthat one sideways molar, a diamond once you fit in your father’s palmswhen you arriveda pink...

Rituals

My love This morning mamá came into the kitchen and handed me her morral My love You dug out an ancestral pain inherited from my grandmother to my mother to me My love Mi mama, she has always told me que las penas con pan son menos So I make myself a taco with all...

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