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

life

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.


Normal rhythms

If you listen, you can feel
the fat whoosh pounding
beneath fingertips, the ready warmth
of rush-of-red head-
ward from heart: not
ruby-red or glitter-red
like Dorothy’s slippers
but still magic, the way
the machine putters on,
isn’t it? How I can put pen
to paper or make love
with my thumbs by typing
less than 3 or wink or walk
away

while under it all
I am filled
with the smell of rust, bloodstink,
someone said, like old traintracks
sunk in summer mud,
persistent as hell, as sin; copper-
tinged bleeps on a blank screen :
alphabet soup : pee-kew-ar-ess, an iron-
y bulge-thump of muscle: lub-
dup like the one-legged steps
of my father’s crutches, how
it has nothing to do with love,
after all, and everything, lub-dup,
lub-dup, lub-dup unremarkable
until it is not.