I was the ugly child in the after school special. Grown mean, grown angry. Left in the back room to pick my own scabs smooth. Everyone was watching and no one was watching. There were eight rooms in that house. There was stained glass. There was yellow cake. Pillars. Beneath the stairs in the basement, a box of my father’s clothes. All that remained … Read More grown
It was about a pregnant chambermaid. It was about the shifting skin. It was about a Scottish fisherman. It was about the color orange. It was about busting out of here. It was about your eyelids. It was about loneliness. It was about a homemade kitchen table, blue light at dusk, ice-cold root beer, and selling your car to a stranger. It was about Hank Williams. … Read More whippoorwhill
We were never going to amount to much. Instant coffee and beer, playing chicken on the street of churches. We ran into electric fences in the dark. But he wasn’t dead yet. He would die later, waiting on a heart that was never coming. We would have been better if we’d run, punching out into that night full of stars.
I wanted to say that my horoscope called this full moon an angry moon. I wanted to say that I did feel it pulling me with it out into the dark, cold waters. I wanted to say that the water is always there, that I was born on a island, then I lived on a lake. And I wanted to say how later I moved … Read More angry moon
A small stove. No room for a table. The washing machine in the corner, emptying gray water by a tube into the sink. A window overlooked the parking lot. A store’s dumpster. Beyond that the street and more streets beyond that, leading through and up. Then rose a hill and the buildings on the hill glowed in the afternoon light. That glow, those windows, … Read More unheated
December had them on their knees. They had never brought the boy to mass. Never taught him of the body and the blood. He knew nothing of the candles held up against the darkness. The candles flickering a tenuous path home. Crawling up the cathedral stones. Voices, light, enlightened. Whispering, they spoke of midnight before the shepherds, when the animals opened their mouths and assumed a human … Read More spoke
I have made a Stonehenge of my heart. Piled around me, the earth, your favorite bones. Through the gaps, light, air. This day is small but tomorrow it will grow as sand grows, worn down by air and water, by moonrise and sunset. I have made a Stonehenge of my heart. Glowing from within and held up to the window so that you will always … Read More solstice
I was in a Mexican restaurant in Topeka, Kansas when a man taught me how to peel an avocado. We had driven downtown, past the hate signs, through the empty streets. A town without pedestrians. This is the way you do it, he demonstrated with his empty hands. This is how you separate the skin from the meat. It might’ve been a mango. I … Read More mango
The pines belong here, seventy feet up or more. The oaks have found their way. The greedy hemlock hugs the border, its low-slung, dead branches cover the ground below. There is no light beneath it. A survival technique. A way to keep all of the light and water for itself. The swamp maple is as diseased and twisted and scaly and ornery as it … Read More survival of
You are treasured. Grown by bone and hair, pushing up and out. Flesh surrendering to the pull of gravity, the earth. The basil on the windowsill smells of summer and an open wound. The house smells of ash and the decay of last night’s meal in the can. The day’s frozen air smells of infinity, snaking forward, pushing you into breath, the ache. … Read More treasured
We say we will follow the deer tracks in the snow later in the day but we never do. They all lead to the same place, back to the denuded arbor vitae. We could trace them to our windows and look in as though strangers seeing it all for the first time. The empty bed. The daffodils blooming in the jar. Dust on the … Read More feed
There was a man. Or someone like him. Another man like that. The door was always left unlocked. One night a man wandered in. She couldn’t remember what he looked like. Someone ends up dead or missing. The boss goes missing from his room. You can’t live alone.