Posts for June 19, 2020


Things I Do Not Miss

There was the Christmas

you sent gifts via Amazon

for me to distribute

because you were going to be gone

to some mysterious destination,

scouting out a location

to start a new life

without us.

When I called to wish you a Merry Christmas

and asked you where you were,

you hatefully replied,

“Why?  Do you miss me?”


Mom and I

had to drive to


in the middle of the week

one summer

to retrieve you,

racing against the clock,

trying to make it before

someone reported you to the police

as you continued to have

a public meltdown

all over the city.

If you got committed

out of state,

we couldn’t visit you

every day

and Mom would

worry herself sick.


Before you were diagnosed,

we would have the strangest arguments,

my feelings deeply hurt.

Sitting in the theater lobby,

as you dumped all the family’s problems

on me,

as if the invitation to a movie

was an ambush for the guilt trip



I love you,

but there are moments

I take a deep breath

and feel grateful

that you are gone.


A 5-Branch Poem


A house grew up among the oaks.
Their high boughs seemed eternal like
the day after tomorrow. 


An entire acre of fall leaves–a crazy

quilt in reds and oranges. We piled into
industrial garbage bags. 


They used to say, in winter,
from the house you couldn’t see

the trees for the snow. 


Ice storms felled one tree.
Heavy wet snow took two more.
Then: pine bark beetles. 


In the house among the trees
lived a century, plump
in its middle age. 

Now, it grows thin–

but it still hangs on.


The Face of Love

It doesn’t take sitting in a waiting room
facing other people who have stifled breath beneath
face masks staring too at the
face of a clock indefinitely and into the
face of a perfect stranger while every other lonely chair
faces the wall to sit
face-to-face with fear, worry, anxiety hoping the
face you project features faith, hope, patience


looking at every photo like it’s a family portrait

i could tell it was dusk
when you snapped the photo
probably on a pre-set timer
she had her arm wrapped
around your shoulders
and your knees were bent slightly
to keep the young boy close
like a son

this photo made me realize
every photo is a family portrait
the ones lining the pages
of history textbooks
and the pages of the news
all a gallery of mixed-matched
family portraits

you’ve got the ones that don’t belong
standing far in the back
visibly separate from the rest
and then there are the ones
the portrait were meant for
the ones who stand boldly
in the front with bright smiles
like everything’s fine in the back

the history’s and personality’s
held in the scars
and smiles
and tears
and bruises
and wrinkles
of all the faces

it was tragically beautiful


And then go to bed

imagine all the heavy petting while you brush your teeth.
the sore mouths and bumping tongues while you take out your earrings;
picture the hand holding, the absent minded touching,
worse yet, the mindful touching-
and brush the knots out of the back of you hair, 
shave your legs, 
rub tiger balm on your shoulders, 
clean your nails,
drink some water. 

Swallow all of the cyclicality 
Cry just a little 
Mourn who you were 
Open your arms to who she’ll have to be 



i press my hand to a glass door
making myself look out and
watch as
hawks surf daylit waves of air
trees protest earth’s pull
children practice backyard diplomacy
and nations fight over the sticks
i push hard until
my hand shatters
this view
and I can almost hear
the moles
scratching at the cat’s gravestone
the grass
pushing at weeds, gulping air
time itself
attacking my wooden walls
breaking down my synapses
are we doubting Thomases
strengthened by sight?
are we Bonapartes
retreating from age?
maybe we’re just
waking from a dream
or falling
into one


A Sunday in July

The sun fell steeply
That warm summer evening
For the thunder moon.

For the sloping curve
That cut black void and white stars,
And bled free her light.

For gouges notched
By lovers held too closely,
Too foolish to run.

For fine lines carving
Old wounds into valleys
And choking heights.

For a glow that drew
Her image into the sea
And harts’ pupils.

The sun drew clouds close,
Doused her own blinding glare
For just one minute more.



And I still see you,
handsome as ever,
ink-sketch body against
the setting sun.
There’s a ghost in that outline-
rotoscope memories dancing
across glassy eyes,
a furrowed brow that doesn’t 
seem to fit quite right on your face.
A figure losing definition
in the downpour,
you sparked a cigarette to life,
a lone light diminishing as 
we drew away.



The days of June march on,
heavy as a funeral procession.
I can’t tell what’s in the casket
– it smells of memories and childhood action figures
in a way that can’t be named.

At the graveyard, I find
a new life waits for me. There seems to be even more
heavy light and heavy chaos,
but there is a strange peace in the heat.

It smells of memories and childhood action figures
in a way that can’t be named.