Posts for June 11, 2020


dream flowers

last night I dreamt of flowers—
location unknown—on wheels
in trunks full of soil and bits
of leftover sand from two years
and six hundred miles away.

purple pussywillow and golden
aromatics all away, saving space
for dreamy details like
when time jumped,

the uncontrollable way
that only happens in the stem
of a restless mind,

and the flowers were gone,
stolen. petals like fingerprints
at the scene of the crime.

islamic interpretation told me
dream flowers mean joy. 
others say they are purity.
delicacy. virginal innocence.

the waking world is wavering,
and for the first time we acknowlege
with wide open eyes, pupils dilated,
the weight of words like
“this time feels different.”

please, please. let it be different. 



How swiftly you came
with the late spring rain
like the swallow lithe and quick
flew within these walls of brick
that glowed dust-red and bone
by grace, from place unknown. 

For a fleeting moment
I longed to trap that swallow
pin her against the glass
feel the flutter of her heart
beating until eternity – 
to see her beauty close at hand. 

But her beauty lies in this:
to be free
a destiny unknown
free of me. 

With sticks and string
she weaved a delicate structure
among the rafters
where my spirit would soar. 

And now the darkness quicksens
you leave once more
in faith that I 
will one day fly. 
So know that you will be
my sacred memory. 

June 10, 1998



I’m thinking of words
and language
and how you
didn’t know English
all that well
and I wonder
if I love you
the same
in translation. 


Monkey Business

Twelve kinfolks scatter
home from holiday circus
bigger nuts this year



so much
of what we aim to say
is not the target
but the flight


it would be kind of embarrassing if you read this…

my lips are stained
with wine and your mouth
you taste like my drink of choice and i still taste you
and your scent stuck to my clothes and hair and skin

i long to be traced by your fingertips again
sit in your warmth
hear your heartbeat through your chest
for me
i hope it’s only for me


Ars Poetica

I beat my thumbs against the screen

and try to communicate with the 


I do not think that they will sing to me,

but they do,




Content warning: self-harm 

After the argument,

I attack the clutter in the kitchen

until I am sweating

and out of breath.

Because all I know how to do

is to throw my entire body

at a problem,

exhaust myself,

keep pushing.

Perhaps it is my new form

of cutting:

toxic productivity.

A socially acceptable way

to destroy myself.

Like my sister

the schoolteacher

who goes for

three or four days

without sleep

in the summer

as she prepares her room

for the students’ return.

My response to overwhelm

is to sacrifice my body.

I am already readying

the altar

for the huge work project

at the end of the month.


but secretly anticipating

how I will martyr myself.

Alchemize my stress.

Turn emotional pain

into physical pain,

something I can deal with.


I only return to her

when I am spent

and exhausted

beyond words.


makeshift mothers

i collect them
i gather them
like a young, prairie girl
with her hair braided
as she plucks flowers from a field
and stores them in a wicker basket

i worship this ritual
of culling makeshift mothers
in an attempt
to fill the void
your death
carved out in my soul
so i seek you out in others:

the ones who coddle me
as they apply sunscreen
to the back of my neck
and explain the day’s plans
in a childlike simplicity
down to the smallest of details
though only the ones they know
i’ll care about
like the snacks that’ll be carried
in the backpack we share

the one who whipped out a knife
late at night in the drive-thru
where we were buying milkshakes
and sawed away at her hair
to gift me a few strands
that i twirled in my fingers
and played with in my mouth
for hours, and hours

the ones who caringly scold me
wrap their arms around me
in the soft, warm, gentle embrace of a hug
after giving me softer clothes for my skin
and rubbing lotion on my injuries
before teaching me yet another new thing
like how to worship the stream
and love wholly and uniquely

i bless all of these caregivers
knowing that losing them hurts
just as deep as your grave
so i hold on to them in my heart
long after they’re gone
like the girl
who goes home
and presses the flowers
in her great-grandmother’s Bible
and stores it on a top shelf
almost out of sight



There’s an ache in the long summer night,
a wish for time to slow or stop here,
still air close against our skin.
Insect song pulses through the quiet.
We breathe to its rhythm,
chests rising and falling, tiny
gestures under a vast sky.
The grass is a living, 
breathing carpet below us,
the stars, a promise that we are 
part of something bigger,
though we can’t grasp what.
Your thoughts fill up the air 
around me like electricity.
To simply exist beside you
is my nightly devotional.