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.

Chaos Theory

                                 —For Ruth Stone


The sound of your voice
low, through the telephone
was certain that you had become a fractal
flaw. A mistake the universe
forgot to fix.

You had decided that you would
fix it, this time you would divide
by zero.

You forgot to leave
an instruction manual, a check-list of
items to cross out
in the event
that you became crossed out.

There are crumbs
of you that continue
to vibrate in absence-

Mandelbrot was wrong;
there are no gifts from zero.

La Mort

Three cards drawn
then placed against the black table
a year prior,
there he was-
arranging your fate

and there you were
as the calendar had made up
its mind
to jump to month thirteen

It had found you
placed against
the low yellow
motel room light
which did not show contrition
until it was hour three.

And the off, on tick of the poorly hung clock
did not stall, as the timekeeper laughs
in the background – off stage.

Synaptic Failure

Listen, it’s hard to keep
it up like this.
We’ve seen what you’ve done.
Fifty-six years seems like enough of that.

We can understand how the word “terminal” makes things between us awkward
but an early death seems like the least of your worries,
you’re a bit belated on repenting for past mistakes.

Hey  – it isn’t all bad news. We’ve talked with your memory,
he said he’s willing to stick it out, so you’ve got that going for you.

Microaggression (In Response to Claudia Rankine’s “Citizen”)

He is one of many.
He doesn’t know your name.
He is your brother.
He is your friend.
He is your uncle.
He is someone you walk past on your way to work.

You are also one of many.
This is not the first, second, last time this will happen to you.
It is not the last, second, first time this will happen to someone else
someone else you know,
someone else you barely know.
Your mother,
the girl who sits across from you in class,
someone who lives five hundred miles away from where you are standing
right now.

You are working, standing behind a cash register, walking into a store, waiting in line.
You are sitting across from him on the train,
on the bus,
you sit next to him at the dinner table.

He approaches you
on a good day,
on a bad day,
when you are in the middle of a phone conversation.
He tells you that you should smile more,
he says come on, life isn’t so bad, give me a smile.
It does not matter how he says this to you.
It does not matter your response,
he sees you as a function.
As something that is simply meant to entertain him.
Something he can look at up close, far away
and become upset, enraged that you are staring
directly at him, not smiling
in his direction because he forgets
that you do not exist to be looked at.

You tell him no thank you,
you tell him you are having a fine day
you ask him why.

That is not what you are meant to do,
you are not supposed to talk back to someone
who is only worried about your wellbeing.

He’ll say something under his breath
about your attitude.

He’ll clear his throat,
call you a fucking bitch,
that you should be nicer.
that maybe someone (him)
should show you what happens
when you don’t respond well
to compliments, to constructive criticism,
to his blatant threat(s) of violence against you
for forgetting that you are useful only
when you are willing to get on your knees
the moment he throws his unwanted attention
in your direction.


He says your name –

He says
it’s not a habit, it’s easier this way
if you don’t pay attention to what happens

Don’t you see?

He holds his fingers on
your neck,

that you’re misusing me,
that you’re forgetting
everything that comes
after you.

Now you check
the door one, two,
four times behind him.

But he comes back
to check up on you,
he says

the robbers can still get in
and take it all.

now it’s all wrong, it’s not right, he says,
when he runs his feet
on your grey rug.

I’m sorry, he says,
no, I take it back.

His black shoes ruin your rug
because he forgot it was snowing
in March,
it still snows in March, you say.

The edges of his mouth
curve, they form someone else’s name

someone else’s name
sounds like an apology
that rings your doorbell
until you answer, don’t check the door.

He drags his black shoes forth
and back on your grey rug,
a mouth you have
yet seen, and the images

of someone else
coming in
and taking it all.