I would not have married you if you asked.
You did not ask, and that upset me.


Do you remember where you were
in 1992?


Arizona is hotter
than you expected. The heat
gets on your bad side, I get on your bad side.


I had an excessive reaction that pierced
the surface of things.


It is so hard to see
where you are now.


It is the time
you have hung yourself.


I sit in that rented home
filled with your agates.

Our daughters have no pity,
they do not see you here
from the vantage point
of your nuclear clearing.

They sit on top of ant hills,
staring at the sun thinking you are
up there


Indian Summer

I. The only thing that has died because of me were dandelions

You look like my mother. The way her face would turn upside down
when I thought of her dying.
You don’t have to die here – you’ve already done it.
Mom will come shortly after, too. She’s given into things that are bad for us.
She doesn’t change the lightbulb in the kitchen, she still forgets my birthday.

When I am small, I think mom will live f o r e v e r is a word that is made up of time that cannot exist. I try to find the beginning point, then pray to someone else’s upstairs neighbor that it does not end while I am standing
in line at the grocery store.

Mom doesn’t want to live forever, but I am seven years old.
You do not want to live forever, but she is two years old.

II. We saw you clock out before you did

Someone saw you for the last time in downtown Binghamton, said things were getting better, life is good, it could be worse and I am not doing worse.

There is a joke, not a knockknock joke, but a joke that goes like this:

Q: How do you know a junkie is lying to you?
A: He is still speaking.

III. You have negotiated time

There is a picture of a waterfall that hangs on its left side above you. Someone painted your face on upside down. The pastor stands on his toes; his brown old suit black tie does not mention black tar or your year long sabbatical inside or how you died alone surrounded by people who resembled black birds.

He looks at you, he sighs,
he’s never met you before until now. But he sighs,
oh god, we will always remember you. He sighs,

IV. It is summer in November, but only here

Your daughter sits on your first wife’s lap in a white dress, messed with licks of glitter and her mother cries. But she dances up and down, waves her legs, her arms follow soon like carbonated water shaking in its bottle.

The manufactured curls in her hair spin when she spins,
She does not have to think about f o r e v e r now
or the lightbubs in the kitchen
or her up and coming vulnerability to crushed up or shot up tiny pieces
of extinction that disguise themselves in yellow, green, white dandelions.

It’s all spinning now.

Macrocosm Liability

You ruin your body in November, where insects begin to pay
rent somewhere else, where lightboxes rub their hands together in anticipation
of their consolidated return.

There is a police report inside mom’s grey lock box of secrets,
carbon copy dad followed mom to the grocery store. dad accused
mom of fucking someone else
because the firing off inside his arms fired off somewhere else.

Now you’ve reproduced yourself
in the face of a stranger who sits in the café
where I work, writing on his computer. The fern resembles
you, too. There is an upside down universe
where we get everything we want, bees don’t
vanish when we take things that aren’t ours.

Dad remembers cytology but multiplies it by 3,
but this time, he knows how to read a calendar
or the cicadas will trade their watch with his.
And you don’t move one million dollars in a year
selling fractions of evil.

You keep the rug underneath you,
or at least the birds vibrate closer
to earth to keep it spinning-
and smoke signals don’t mirror
motel rooms where the sparrow
cannot keep silent.

Probability Distribution



Your father was born
when the doctors told him
he was going to die.

His terminal existence
made him honest, forced him
to believe in habitable planets
where it would not have turned out
like this.

He was filled with faulty
wiring. It was a mistake with the mechanics
that forced him to give in
and believe in


You turned on the television
as your father’s body burned
in the background.

There, you had decided
it was not a cosmic
coincidence or an illusion of chance
that you had seen
the universe attempting to make sense
of itself
in the permanently repeating pattern
within the metallic, coarse
covering of the pangolin’s exterior.


There are other pieces of land
where you don’t have to be this. The heat is the same
wherever you go, don’t blame the television for making you
a liar. You won’t find yourself in Los Angeles,
haven’t you seen their homelessness problem?
There’s nothing for you
in New York. I remember you
sitting across from me in the fluorescent diner
around one am. You said the waitress looked
like my mother. She did. Mom never left Philly,
look where it got her. Stuck in someone
else’s head.
I shouldn’t have left Philadelphia. Enough people died there,
but people die in New York too.
I find myself counting the miles between you and I, but I lose
count after the first 300.
I hear your voice enough that I think we can distort the time zones, outsmart
the sunset, but it doesn’t work.
Writers like to trick you into thinking words can change
your perception, but we have all said the same thing. Some of us don’t need
a kickstand. I think Brett could have fixed that, but we all have our limitations.
Now everyone knows someone who died
from something. You tell me of the time you found out that elephants
never forget. That’s why we take things that aren’t ours, at least then some body
will remember us.
But you stay three hours behind me, unable to catch up or tie up the difference.
You ask me what it’s like in future. Nine months is enough
to ruin someone’s life.
It feels safer this way.


I forged your signature-
the A and the ending E
ran into each other, as if they were
proud that we did not share
the same letters that made us up, and pulled
us apart.

There is nothing worse than knowing you will not
be missed.

I wished on Yellowstone erupting,
forcing the west to take you in
and then freeze you out.

There are books that tell us of end
times, and none of them mention your name.

I took (y)our children to the end
of the desert, found the tallest mountain (peavine peak)
in Nevada.

Your heads could find the end
of the precipice, your skulls pierced like plastic…

There are turtles, otters that have been tricked by you
and your discarded six-pack rings.

I hoped parallel lines would combine us,
when instead they divided us.

Euclid said things
that coincide with one another are equal

but he did not argue with you.

Atropa Belladonna

The alignment of your teeth remind them
that you are a function, the final crescendo
for their proverbial spank bank. Off guard
but enduringly on time – You should smile more.

(no thank you. i am fine. nothing is wrong. today is a good day.)

There is a battery in his mouth, his voice
turns. Now it is you – you are the bitch,
should have been agreeable, should have made
cosmetic provisions when younger!

We, the lesser, have forgot that we exist
solely to be looked at. They just do not know better.
Must respond well to constructive compliments!
To blatant threats of violence, ETCETERA.
Must realize that you are only useful
when you are bent over or on your knees.

i have won it all, thinks brigitte

if there is one thing a woman should be, it should be the very best.
b is not the very best woman.

it is a pity that brigitte does not love her husband.
i love you so much, says brigitte.

certainly i am nothing without you, and if i am nothing, then there is not a point in being a person at all.

her husband thinks b is pathetic.
he would be right, if he was not also just like poor brigitte.

it is her husband that laughs loudest because he is safe.
b is not safe.

there is nothing else for brigitte.

You Have Done It (Again)

You let him
subtract us, divide up
our comparisons
and took us apart.

Your husband is a liar-
one year in every ten, you wrote
us down. Now he does it for you
daily, hourly, monthly, continually.
We are better this way, he says, they say.

Would he consider it
a lapse in (your) judgement?

Discarded by someone else,
someone else who failed to see
the void, the absence that he should
not have created.
Now our abscessed estrangement carries
your worn out years,
a pleading spectacle,
a wailing dramatization – look here!


I watched them pull you apart-
and gut you like a fish on a silver table
to remove your heart
and turn it over to someone else
who will not carry the same blue marbles
that warned me of the tiny galaxies
inside of you.