theories, funerals, and want

Walking over these wooden floors of ours
back and forth by you
excuses like rum and cleaning and bathroom breaks
(I’m merely testing a theory)
and my hypothesis was right
I’m invisible
writing the plan for the week
three times
varying degrees of detail
and the part that gnaws at me
I can’t find my funeral hats
I’ll have to search my mother’s house
before the weekend
a cousin is dead
she was our family’s first
of my mother’s generation
to die
leaving a ten-year-old in the ICU
and a husband that couldn’t cope
all the while
a selfish
all-American ache
eats through my rib cage
wanting attention
wanting flowers I didn’t pick
wanting wine I didn’t pour
and candles I didn’t light
wanting my funeral hats back
to be a lady despite (because of?) tragedy
so i’ll sit up
do my makeup
(for me, not him)
and wait for the hunger pangs of selfishness
to dissipate


heirloom china and hot dog dinners

Finding acceptance within one’s imperfect body
imperfectly painted kitchen cabinets
imperfectly phrased stories
around one’s dining room table
hot dogs served on heirloom china
and iced tea with honey from back home
kittens falling asleep on people’s laps
as we laze the evening away
this small web of our life
sparkles with ordinary dew drops
our stretch marks merely making room
for this joy

paper flowers

After you chose excommunication
over false-smile chains
we took the pages your captor left behind
each making a satisfying, destructive tear
cutting off the rough edges
making perfect right angles
folding and creasing until the words blur
transforming her poisoned present
into wedding flowers
therapeutic transformation
from curse to blessing


She strove for purpose
jealous of her passionate siblings
finding their niche proved effortless
while hers remained elusive
hands playing with new hobbies
lethargy inevitably set in
robbing her of a finished product
no fire in her bones to spur her on
so she settled
on the only things she was good at
sitting cross-legged on their steady gray surfaces
listening to the silence
continuing to take the lost up in her arms
and wonder who mirrored her spirit
enough to do the same for her
but she wouldn’t wish that emptiness on anyone
so she sits alone
and waits for the hour of night

era of ordinary

they beat the ghosts of their past
the thin wisps of suggestion
that made them skip their lunch
they beat them with small towns
and impending marriage licenses
their clinging to each other
made their hands let go of dead songs
and it made them
not as better as they hoped
her body swelled with acceptance
taking up enough healing room
her breasts became beckoning safehouses
for weary heads and toddler naps
and yet
she sometimes hoped for protruding hip bones
and trouble buying jeans so small
for now the era of ordinary had arrived
just as perfect as they’d hoped
yet somehow bittersweet

honey darling

I suppose I love Jesus
but I drink a little
(more than I should
hush, don’t tell
let a broken girl have her vices,
Honey Darling)
I miss what we were
when you were my savior
and I the flaxen-haired damsel
crumpled in the corner of a dirty apartment
your arms took a familiar role
rescuer, protector
cleaning the dirt off my teary-eyed face
until I tried to tell you
my feet were steady again
and you realized you’d be caught
if you let yourself fall
so you fell
my arms are so tired now
catching you each night
as you stumble over our threshold
your hands falling heavy to the floor
(they’ve forgotten the shape of me by now)
But vodka still knows my tender curves
so let a girl have her affections
where they come

wasn’t there

did you know
that when the corners of the world fell
(for who can remain right-angled
when looked upon by theory)
and drew together like the purse strings
of a healing wound
so those who looked for the edge
came up empty
and thus
stumbled upon the pale-skinned promise
never being capable of walking
beyond the earth
so we created the spark of darkness
in repeating the trek
to the edge
that wasn’t there