because while some truths lend themselves to equations, others are best described in verse

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On a Monday, near-West End

Under brooding thunder on an early May night
lonely men sit outside the B&N
waiting for company, or God, to get right.

Soccer moms pause and pass at the light;
lonely men look up, then look down again,
their eyes breeding thunder on an early May night.

Longing just for a glance, a bite,
salvation from the fate of lonely men,
a little company, or God, to get right,

late benediction, some mother to say it’s alright, 
they roam parking lot neon in search of amen
under promise of thunder on a quiet May night.

Hard bench, hard hands, back hunched, mouth tight:
mothers’ sons lost searching for some little sin,
for company, or God. To get right,

to get home, whole, welcome, contrite,
wanting someone to wonder where you’ve been
when there’s threat of thunder on an early May night;
you’re waiting for company. Or God to get right. 


Because not every day was meant for bitterness

I bought a unicorn. Swapped
it for my work-a-day black
espresso taken with a daily dose
of state-of-the-world and self-disgust.
All sweet-tart pink
powder & blue syrup, topped
with a spiral of pure white cream;
you needn’t tell me no one needs that crap,
the processed sugar & color, short-
chained fats, the plastic cup;
I savored every last drop, followed it up
at the Salvation Army
with a pair of crocheted pants
and a sleeveless fringed tank
2 sizes too large that reads:
love the little things.

Misnomer

Somewhere off Cherokee Road
the hills roll and the azaleas,
dogwoods litter the banks
of the dropped shoulder
with prom dress colors,
like this neck of the woods
was made for sweet sixteen.
Passing through for the first time,
I don’t understand: the Cherokee
never knew this southside
central Virginia suburb
as home; this
was Mattaponi land, or Pamunkey,
Pocahontas’ people—
not made for pastel-
lined driveways, houses
set back facing the road
like rubber-neckers
after a loud crash of histories.
Where last year’s leaffall
is manicured into groomed mounds
of might-have-beens,
and the latest models
sit sparkling in whitewashed
gravel beds. And yet, the drive
is pleasant enough,
Victorian voice
on the smartphone
alerting me of the next turn
off, so that I, as well as the azaleas,
dogwoods, can enjoy the scenery
without overthinking
where the journey ends.

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