In the unkindness of the mirror, I think I want to kill myself but instead decide to dye my hair

Because our hearts weren’t
big enough to be wombs, we worked
on making them hard
enough to be fists : weapons
to strangle our ghosts,

the ones we thought
we had left in the last life,
or at the bar, or sunk
straightjacketed
brick-to-pedal
in the bed of the James.

but we didn’t leave them :
we carried them; being
ghosts, they weighed
so little we could pretend
we didn’t mind. and maybe

we didn’t– because maybe
we half wished
to become ghosts ourselves,
see the air squeeze
from our bodies, live
a little too close to the edge;

feel the rush, then the plunge,
then the dark // but we didn’t.
we stepped back, took up
our day jobs, ran fingertips
over the callus of our hearts and settled

back into the hum, feeling
for the next cut to spread
ourselves open
& up to the light, seeking
applause for our brokenness,
a new way in, a new outlook, our next ghost.

 

Driving

under drying skies, north,
passing fields
the summer has been too wet
to turn brown,
i wait for God
to appear, for poems to rise
like mists, for some sort
of ever

that doesn’t sting.
croon to me like a wild road,
sunlight spider-webbing
across a cracked windshield
across strange arms
across a morning we can all afford
to spend and live
and live.

why i write poetry

canal, drained

 

(because)

there are too many pine-sown miles
down sixty-four east between here
and the coast,
not enough syllables
in a night.

because the lightning flash is silent

and the cobblestones too loud,
chattering away our past
over slip-slick mouths.

because they pull
fewer bodies
from the dark of this water
than one might think

and our image
is a birdcage that goes
blood-deep,
is reduced to matchsticks
and catches flame,
sinks again.

the lightning, as i have said,
is silent.

because some suns
were born broken
and some days
destined to break and
once not many ago
i found an ant
in the sugar jar, drowning.

because (i
am not worth loving, sad, though)
some afternoons
there is a july morning
with open windows
and no thunder but
tucked in the space
where it should be
stands a poem.