Inaugural Haiku

Damp Geneva seeps
into our cold feet marching
to protect women.

Stone sky tablet for
black calligraphy of trees
writing history.

The new president
says he’ll get rid of columns
when building new rooms.

The new president
says he’ll protect you from them
and then the rain falls.

The president’s mouth
puckers when he peers at us:
“I love you all now.”

                                               Published on What Rough Beast project, Indolent Books



My mother

waits again for

me to get

in the car

leave it all

God is good

I've forgotten


telling things

smelling the rich

honky-tonk song

she wore

to cover herself

pitching horse shit

Never understood

why I had to write

the truth

go to church

to God

to stay alive

to come home

drunk on words, wine

I've written about

animal scent

mother's purple suede coat

like a mantle

all those pre-drawn mornings

in the barn

Published on Spiraling Poetry by Paris Press


One of my two sons devours books
as I did, bespectacled, silent.

There are childhood facts I’d like to check,
but the past is unpopular

with my mother. Her husband wasn’t a reader.
His eye was on me during the day

and at night, when the door opened
and carved a wedge of hall light

into my dark room. I would wait for it.
Her pain was mine when

I heard the hush through the wall
after one of their bedroom fights

and her fall into Valium numbness.
My other son peers into

the legacy behind my eyes,
at what I’m trying to hide.

His pleasure and pain
are always mine

as when he kisses his cat or bends
his pen in half and yells at me,

enraged by the words
on the page

in front of him.


Winner of the Earle Birney Poetry Prize
and published by PRISM International

Lifted, Carried

At nine, your son will find
the dildo nestled
in its shiny oblong box
underneath the folded winter
pullovers, he will lift it
from its molded plastic bed
peer through its rose silicon
skin to the two rings
of marble-sized metal balls
which rotate at a button’s press,
he’ll touch the tiny rabbit ears
at the base.
At 13, red-faced, brazen,
knowing its purpose now
he’ll confront you
you’ll tell him there is no shame.
The body’s hungers for pleasure
demand feeding
one way or another.
Still, he will sing out dildo
whenever he thinks of it
owning your secrets, just as you,
at nine, discovered her love
letters in her lingerie drawer.
Her shame ran wider
than the dirty waves
of Lake Erie licking the shore
in those blue and yellow summers
the waves lifted
and carried you swimming.
In winter, you climbed up
and over their cold
jagged shapes.


Published by The Ekphrastic Review

5 a.m.

Inside the dream you wander shoeless
in supermarket aisles. Loneliness

opens its stone lid, invites you in. Even as they fly
birds trust in landings. In the right

tilt of rays you can become the silver thread
pinned to the eave,

the spider’s wide swoop over
hayloft in honeyed light. Things

spiral inward and outward
at the same time — lines

drawn on your fingertips
before you were born

— the scrawl of maps survivors carry.


Published by Cleaver Magazine