9-16-2018: To Have Faith in Troublesome Bounty

Drop the plum pit through the dark from the second floor balcony, aiming
for the dirt you tend but can’t see in the night.
You are magic:
in the morning it is half-planted and proof
of your true aim, potential seed displayed where
it may someday fruit– and if not, still evidence
that your farmer’s intuition has not failed you.
There is only so much dirt in the city, and much like me
fruit trees are particular
before they are sweet.

There is no plot, really, here for a tree or time
for us to tend it. Only winter can care
for this resting plant
but by plums we have infinite pits and faith
enough for all of them.

7-29-2018: So as to Carry in the Hand

What I have seen reduced to a nub:

only one lipstick
my father
the heel of my mother’s pink suede boots (in a story)
a love that calcified after souring, which was worn down by a later onslaught of sugar (which did not stick, did not exfoliate)
a favorite knife
my favorite bones (which were later excavated, lengthened, sharpened)

What I have seen grow from stumps:

another tree
a million green things
budding confidence my husband plays like a guitar
muscular tissue
the iterations of my sister who elevates beyond what she is given
conversation out of silence
my willingness to return again (to things I don’t know, to the pavement,
to the mat, to my running shoes, to the idea of patience, to the present
moment, to whatever song my breath sings yet still remains elusive)

It is good, still, to make an attempt
even as the blush of recklessness has faded, left
you with stained palms and peach pits only, a whole
bowl of the centers without the slicing sweetness
of the journey: make an attempt. Split the seed
and find it dry for planting. Bury it so far down
that the sun cannot burn its hope away and it will wait
a little longer, unidentifiable beginning,
indistinguishable growth, the first pattern as of yet unformed
yet looks like you, you again
attempt to wean and sprout from whittling

10-25-2017: A Little Bit of Everything

In the parking lot of our fanciest Golden Corral
the snow was wheeling down faster than I could feel it,
spaced with each flake apart but still like stitches in a blanket.

I told my mother how I wondered about the pieces of it all,
if any of it would touch me when I’m tall
or melt upon my future husband’s head.

With not a lot of wonder,
“You think just like your father,”
was all she said.

11-29-16: Put It Over Your Heart

I noticed in the morning that I had woman’s limbs
And hands that can hold a ring from a good man
I looked down one day and had the cool hands
I prayed for, my fingers were longer
My nails not bloodied between my teeth,
My fingerprints intact through all my anxious wonder

I woke up astonished to see what sprouted
At the end of my arms
I thought I would be a fist forever
Stigmata in my palms from all the silent edges

Only now am I considering
That I have bled enough

8-16-2011: In the Attempted Style of a Rogue Monster

The weight of a gun under my
arm and against my bare skin
would probably feel clumsy
first and safe second, the
gray metal would be cold
first and melt in to me sl-

I kiss like a pistol: quickly, afraid you will fire.
Daringly, red-lipped and grinning,
I pray roulette with your
mouth and come away shot
full of the giddy feeling
that lives on top of my stomach.
It grabs my ribs sometimes and rattles.

The ghosts in the attic are praying for you.
They are
rolling up their cheesecloth sleeves and fingering the
rosary beads.
I hear them moaning at night and I tuck
my gun under my pillow,
pulling the trigger at my temples
for practice when it is set on safety,
hoping to scare
myself more than the ghosts can, hoping to
care about my life more than
most can.

A vertical slit along each fingertip bleeds and bleeds
ten times over a paper cut. I have been reading your books
again and again and
stapling in my new ending.

The length of pipe under a taxi cab seat to keep
the driver safe from mugging is what I want. I’ll
start keeping a knife under my left breast to save
my heart safe from you. I finger the tip sometimes,
and I cut open my fingers,
but the blade is still
sharp and I can take it and
the blood can be ink if I need it.

Backwards sloping up my shins, lapping at my knees and turning inside out and vomiting my skin and suddenly being right again, all right again, alright already.

I’ve given up on feeling safe, so I pretend I always do.
I link arms
with my friends and run
freely and screaming across
six lanes of
traffic during Sunday
brunch hour. I think to
myself that I owe me
at least one cup of tea in the shade, a bullet
at my side and a gun warm in my armpit,
reading a book that lulls me in to something gray enough to nap in.

Don’t think that I can take anything
well, but dish it out to me anyway. If you try
to protect me
I’ll never forgive you, I’ll never forget you,
I’ll never remember what made me so mad.

6-6-2018: One Flame Overtakes Another Like the Stronger Twin Still in the Womb

Drunken, I was in a dream by the time my first longest friend
gave me a book for the waking, taking time to read
a red banner into my first and last wedding (she remembers
when I only wanted a wedding. Remember when I thought
I’d have a second one too, unofficial, lesbian,
summer and twilight?)

She read a fire into January, resounding chorus
of my first longest friends folding the corners
of this country together to give us
a real live spark in the snow, not long
before I woke up from the dream and realized
the second fire I had been tending
was long cold, dead coals,
shamed by my first into dying

7-14-18: At the End of Mania

The mystery of my appearance feels like a sin
I was born in a purple month and the inside
of my mouth is lavender and iris, amethyst
and bruises

I was conjured like a mist from dew and all here storms
inside of me are certainly brewing
Add coffee to the cream and call it energy: fat or caffeine,
cloud or lightning

My panic is so loud it keeps me up at night even when I’m sleeping
I can hear my anxiety talking about me in the next room, I can see
the disasters light up like strobes even with my eyes
squeezed tight in the dark

I swear I can remember myself dying
My fingers are a mannequin’s, my face only
some cold bone under cold skin
I’m the most alive corpse you’ll ever meet and my whole body
is a memory