Skip to content

Month: November 2013



This is how it happens—he lifts
the dress above your head

and brings it down around
your hands. You become

a peacock, all feathers,

all lace. You breathe
deep, shrinking

your frame as he fastens
the eye-hook, zips up

the dress. Then, the shoes—crows’ feet—

and you are ready.
As you are presented, you realize

this event is on reverse:
the male, in flaming color,

wears black. You, in startling white, hope

to maintain one tradition: the free fall,
like the red-tailed hawk, when

the two of you, at last, meet
at the center of the sky, latch

your talons, and fall.






The body is pregnant                     with limbs

and dismemberment—they tremble

                    and clutch. Their mouths are open

and closed again, the green bodies                     like ghosts

                    turning over, a foot thrusting outward,

another hand reaching                     gripping

                    emptiness. It reaches for you and gathers

nothing, is not angry—tries                     again.

                    This is how you know these are the earliest signs

of motherhood—all that came before (windy breeze)

                    was the carrying.




Umbrella: Customer Care


Humans are a series of feathers
left inside-out. You are out
in the rain, pacing from one eve

to another, looking up
at the splintered gutters, left
cracked from last year’s

Michigan winter. At the door, you take
the world inside—one footprint
from the dirt path, a stone

from the park. Then, the disconnect:
all the croaking frogs and birds
chirping with the coming storm

are left in the trees; here,
there is a television,
warning signs. You point at the object

in your hands, and like a silent film,
she is at your side, touching
your arm, and pointing back.

Beneath her finger, there is
a small button, and a label that says,
Open here.






Before you know it, the earth takes on
an extra layer of skin.

The wind is whipping, whistling,
and when you look outside, you realize

this is how everything
communicates: We speak. We destroy.

And then it’s over. The world

may have a few more years—and then
all the buildings

and swing sets and tornado shelters
will be empty. Instead, our bodies

will all be scattered, our frames
saying, Enough noise.

The earth will take its time in burying its dead.






It’s this simple: the first relationship
is nothing but a series of elephant bones—

the dust and chalk that stumbles
through the mouth. The body is fragile,

indiscriminate, pining for what is lost
in a field, or has never been given.

You spend your time shedding the skin,
the old bone, in place of fresh marrow.

You become faceless and disappear
into another body, another voice,

forgetting what it was like to look out
onto the ocean.




She Wanted To Be An Airplane


Whether it was old wood
or metal, it did not matter: it was the flight

that was important, the escape
and redemption of a sky over the house

where she’d grown up, the shed
where she sometimes hid

in the middle of the night, watching for
raccoons. She found a baby one, once, dead

next to a pair of bushes. She’d held it
close, surprised at the coarseness

of its fur, the skeletal look
of the side of its thin face. The eyes

were blue underneath the lids, too young,
the tongue almost white

behind its teeth. Gently, she put it back
where she’d found it, her hands

locked beneath its small weight, touching
the dew-tipped grass, for only

a moment, but it stayed with her. She knew,
even in flight, that it would, but that she could forget

other things, or at least put them
at the distance of clouds.






The questions come like glass
and ice. She removes

her hair and a piece of
her skull—this is all that could ever

protect me—and the brain
beneath is pulsing

and pink and white. Later,
in his dreams, he tells

the other bodies that there was yellow,
too: the series of electrons,

leaping: hoping for survival




Morning Song


Lackadaisical cries, and the morning
is open. Outside, the world

is still dark, but in here—through
the neighbor’s walls—I hear the earth

turning. She is small, perhaps three,
and I can imagine her in the small

purple pajamas I saw when the family
first moved in. Her hair, a spring-tide

of brown curls, bounces
the more she screams. It is nonsensical,

hardly a word, but the odd, loud cries
of birds. Then, the thud

that can be heard throughout
the house, and the quiet that impedes.

This has become the norm.

We do not speak of it, we do not
show signs of understanding.

We are quiet, and the morning simply




Gray Wolf


The myth begins with gray fur
and yellow-moon eyes.

The teeth. First, there are whispered
sightings, dismissed

into the neighboring water.


Next, the discovery
of cattle bones, picked clean,

the bodies having disappeared
days before. The farmers are not pleased.

What they are doing is
unacceptable, they say,



Then, the massacre: the story to begin
the hunt that will end

all hunts. It is reported
the children in the classroom

didn’t have a chance, the room a series
of red walls, the windows

a private-viewing chamber. Somehow,
the wolf was trapped inside,

able to feed.


The production of guns.


The problem that appears
to neighboring towns is this:

later that day, all the little feet
and backpacks

made it home. Not a drop of blood
was found. And yet—

the anthropomorphic need
to hunt continues:

it feeds.



on the current issue of potential Gray Wolf hunting in the upper-peninsula of Michigan, via the Kalamazoo Gazette






“I’m not committed to life,” she said
and her body was ash beneath

the moon. She ate a pomegranate down

to its last seed, took a breath
and confessed.

Pumpkin seeds tasted like water now.

She often dreamed of swallowing
an entire swing

so that she might take that swaying motion with her.

But then she was gone, her dress
off-kilter, the heels scraping away,

and the moonlight was a severed man

on the nearby bushes
and hydrangeas.