She Said Something


it could be the icepack wrapped around torso

masking new thoughts, along with the pain.

it could be that it’s Good Friday and while there’s no rain yet, i’m waiting—watching for the wind in the japanese maple to make its move outside the bedroom window—twist and pick up, or hush—a baby’s red-faced silence before the scream.

it could be the days of narcotics swimming—surgery no. 2 and tougher to shake.

or, the kids at school, learning theories and math—

learning formulas of numbers and letters—

absolutes—I wasn’t thinking I’d start thinking

about answers today.

it could be the candle nearing it’s last few hours of rose.

the church, doors closed, no stations of the cross at noon—

or the friend who says yes, yes, it’s all possible.


April 19, 2019

why you gotta test the Jesus in me

it happens in unlikely places / like costco, they’re blocking the carrots / not caring / not the cancer—that has a binder, a video / push play and i’ll tell the doctor you’re almost ready / not the lover—drowning ourselves in pink drink—those are the fences we can shag away on a sunday / it’s the hooks to the face when you’ve taken out my lungs / dear brother / why you gotta test the Jesus in me? / i’m coming for you bloodied and empty / handed over by a God who introduced us / bonanza / dear brother—why you gotta test the Jesus in me? / tell your demons but it’s her she’s safe / then today when the hounds are breathing / panting at our door / i will stand up / square off / look them in the eyes and send them to cower.

April 2, 2019




the rock


sing out

south carolina

my sad south

keep the


we people


with you

we people


with you

we are not you

but we too

have sons

we too

have daughters

we too

wake with empty

and fill ourselves

with each other

with purple


gospel song

that defeats

even death

that suckers

for no one

that compassion

cannot shoot

that compassion

cannot bleed

that compassion

will wake

and will not


will not wilt

for no man for no woman for no child

compassion my sweet home south

cannot be killed


June 30, 2015

lent day 20

my friend says people are stupid. i know what he means. i know what he means without my friend naming names. but i remind him we are part paraclete. florescenting, hunting for each other’s doorbells. we are doorways to meaning. the bones of beauty. we know how to be continued. we crowd magic when it’s happening. we turn in our sleep toward fractions. we know sometimes, bare feet. we want the tastelessness of water. the something you can’t touch. the feeling-around-part is mad genius. parents know elation, but most of the time, don’t say it. pushing love doesn’t work. Christ. He was no pusher. No abolisher of law or prophets. Note the feast of the sky and that we should’ve all died by now. and that we have not, and naming names is not necessary. i know what he means.


March 7, 2015

Why she never went to medical school

she daydreams about the insides of linen-closets folded to perfection, men whisking by in scrubs. she likes the phrase ‘rounding.’ she thinks pressed, white linen coats are not worn often enough. she scans for skookum bedside manner. she watches her blood fill viles. nursing shoes are sexy—there’s so much rubber. she doesn’t have cankles. she says ‘advanced medicinal organic chemistry,’ referring to her father. she is clean. she says ‘hygiene’ when possible. washes her hands 10 times a day. she fixates on the gynochologist’s hands—trimmed cuticles—he snaps off the gloves. she longs to ride a 10-speed down an urban thoroughfare at rush hour, switch into a coat with her last name on the breast pocket—like meg ryan in that angel movie. she can handle dead bodies. sometimes lies down with them—to sense life escaping. she admires RNs. she’s logged 500 hours beside hospital beds, 43 as a patient. the smell of ICU turns her on. she memorizes okay. latinate words fit her mouth. she scored higher in math on college entrance exams. her signature is illegible.

January 29, 2015


picture the nigerian priest. 

picture his vestments, red—his long fingers, like branches of a sycamore

telling his story. now picture his father he said,

the hunter. deep in the wood,

feet in dilapidated boots

crushing dry brush—

just missing the hidden nest. picture

the hunter—a human scaffold—

run-walking the eggs

to his hens’ coop—

beating nightfall. 

picture 21 days later—hearing the peal

of the beaks cracking shell—the fledgling

chicks sipping their first taste of unforgiving air.

picture 15 days later—the Nigerian

hunter taking matters

in his rough-hewn hands.

the priest son on his altar, shows us—

his father, scooping up the one bird,

hoisting it high before the daybreak sun.

picture the bird unconfusing itself—

crying its hawk cry—clawing

at the same unforgiving air

for its first flight—

for its sibling chickens left behind.





November 7, 2014

into the winter

there is the ice.

the solitude of white shapes. there’s your snore—aboriginal, from the other room. there’s the remaining relevant—the cooper hawk youth stalking the hens’ coop. there’s the before the storm, zenic in the after—the warmth of conversation with yourself—and there the grand minutia, the small font print you read to spry the mind. there’s that straight pin stabbing the half sewn sleeve, and closer, on the head of the pin,

the into the winter—

the slow birth peeling away old worlds—so that all that meditates, all that hums and is fertile and trustworthy and undeniably beautiful is in your hand, cupped now, like the caught winter moth, ragged in the winter howl—marking its arcs of the human halo.




November 4, 2014