The makeshift ashtray

A better word for purgatory

elegy number 5

just like the light
lights finally
at the close
of a day,
the last gasp
turning evening
into dawn

our naked bodies
a spider’s web
on a bed of flowers,

their faces

a spinning reel
cut to stop

the warmth of drying
tears, filling
every crevice,

watching a pond melting
from its center

elegy number 4 (1st)

something bugs me
this mistake
hole I drilled —

counting on wood
feeling the soft emptiness
breaking the weight
of the drill

I covered it up,
the darkness,
with sea floats
picked up next
to sun stripped plastic
hiking through rain
sandy on the nose, just —
whipped with almost snow

to tin roofs
that reflect tiny sports
washing salty fries with
your beer, with the
sweetness of ketchup, made heavy
in the stares
of the man
sitting next to you,

the force of
the exorcist’s trance
babbling cries to
red with rage
wishing death
up in fluorescent flames
down to the knees
bending in prayer —

a shout
resting like
lazy eyes

elegy number 3

good conversation
is like a weed
too many bites
too late to know
one or two
would have done

like a memory
unwritten, open
to laughing
with strangers

a room
where we grew green
babies together
you would have,
made a good

a trance metallic
in reflection —
boundless color —
like sitting,
by a stream in summer
on a blue, blue


elegy number 2

when I walk
through the park at
at home,
like worn casino chips
finding their grooves

sandy reprieve
like a sigh
as ice turns
to water again

atop untouched landscapes
your hand a warning
and a comfort
relaxed as wrinkles,
pushing aside knees

elegy number 1

like when a mountain misses a river
ever reaching, never met
like a too early empty

on all fours
baring your teeth
your head hot
like a regal
elephant unable to rise

its eyes
pearls black
as silk

there is beauty
in destruction, our mouths
gaping, gasping
for more
like how you imagine others
would say goodbye

like a bud in winter

still your money

What does it mean
when missing
your true love
all askew
from the very idea,
what does it mean

to feel the cold
metallic thread,
a net, patterned
by sleep

When you know
all those sorries
added up to no sorrow,
the kind carried
with lost limbs
notes written in earnest —
true, what is another measure

Where life refuses
to emerge,

How I gave
up, shampooing away as
gently, the ring I tossed
to eager hands
I still dream

of answering

the heart


like boats
tied loose
black purple
water in June
on our bellies


stars interrupted
crackling orange
tear shaped ice
stuck between
sandy inlet toes


as sweet as
backseat mama’s
lap, desert dust
running down,

for my three

It’s not about the father
it’s not about wanting your desires
fulfilled by your father
it’s not about him
it’s not about longing
for him
it’s not about his needs

It’s about yours, the female
child, a day away from birth
about forgiveness
about freeing yourself from
the hook

they all say
it’s about the woman’s
failure to birth
and sustain that dream
the father’s dream,
the father’s ascension

I destroy my heart
every awakening
losing the weight
between cries to friends
across states

and yet there remains

for all the cooks I fell in love with

it’s 2 am
the soy pots are washed
dried wheat
like polished rice
at what rate
does the heart beat

you smile at each other
in your own secret
ways, edged against a ceiling
to ceiling
green ladder
I knew slow

motion in turns
that’s how we know how much
to sell
called out advances

your sunburnt,
blushing cheeks.

for courtney

I imagine us small
holding hands
eye to eye
finger to finger
afternoon sunshine

pours through crevices
the tips of our hair touching

the summer I
drew through the rain
on a creaky deck
singing songs
that weren’t mine

I watched an airplane
lights against grey blue sky
we both hate the 4th,
who wouldn’t

if they knew
how to wear
their souls
on their skin

our ancestral
lines laughing at the
front door,
we met