Nesting

The summer I was pregnant, I watched with growing detachment as my breasts asserted themselves and my spreading hips echoed my mother’s. I had the urge to nest—procuring diapers and wet wipes, obsessively dusting, developing a sudden, unexpected interest in scrapbooking—and became, for a short while, someone I was not. That’s not true. I was […]

Before the Confession

Photo by Jon Sailer on Unsplash   Something there, smaller and meaner than before— where the palm of the hand rests on the collarbone— ails me. I’m sure that’s where the shame is. How it shrank like an old walnut, what was once the locust-heart of summer. The meadowlark’s V for victory over the yellow […]

Sestina Obbligato

Photo by Umanoide on Unsplash   The orchestra ambushes me with Mahler’s Fifth. I never played; I have no innate sense of music, so it’s a shock to feel the brass ransack my body. Stop I rasp when the trumpets make my edges blur and a solo horn tugs my soul through my throat. Stop. […]

The Cabinet

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash   I must remember to open the cabinet of forgotten things. That’s where the bottles are. Bottles of solutions that enhance memory. Or do they stoke the imagination? I think I recall the lock’s combination. Isn’t it the date of a French king’s death? Or the net worth of […]

I Think I Am That Poem

Photo by Andrew Eihausen on Unsplash   After Edgar Kunz’s “Piano”¹   My father is the kind of dying that acts as reminder. When I call I can hear, through clearness, breath. All the signs of the living he does are dying signs. He is a messenger. I wish I could drag his body sled-bound, […]

Blackbirds

Photo by Kovid Rathee on Unsplash I. School, and she can’t breathe, and she forgot her inhaler again. She keeps forgetting, can’t keep things straight. Forgot her lunch last week, twice. The inhaler should stay with the nurse, but she needs it so often that she now keeps it in her desk, takes puffs once […]

Birthday

Photo by Ruslan Valeev on Unsplash   I told the mortician to mix our ashes I wish to see you as a speck of sand maybe a fistful of waves gnashing until white stone all the lilies bursting from this rapture your opal lips shiver like two harp strings I pluck a symphony from the […]