Open Casket

death should be closed especially when it is young
and his legs of the body are straight and the space is open below
his tight lipped curls they said would relax when he grew into a man
years tightened them around his words
until we could no longer hear the sound of his voice.
open death         silent, the living         cosmetic,
paint our bodies we will never stand upright
for fleeting pleasures
for lies told not to see
that the color left the cheeks of that boy years before
door shut tight, black and white
he lay in bed that night in the same exact position,
unable to save his own life
even when his mother said his name,
again and again.


Saying Goodbye To Home

I lived in objects until they became voices
in the corners of every wall, and we woke
to understand that memories could contour
without letting go, indispensable partners in life,
mocks us in physical matter, until the humbleness unravels
at the sound of footsteps passing by.

I thought I was the only one to carry these babies
that space deserved no credit,
the warmth of a given setting was a consequence
of a secondary movement,
that feet grew through the floors in given years
the alignment of faces and windows,
smiles in how we counted growth, measuring sunshine,
your youthful beads of hair took hours to
be forgotten, this floor called to you to
crawl, this ceiling called to you to stand
my body was nothing when the door called
to you to run, to find a place behind my eyes
where you could whisper dreams, sleep
and wake to the kindness of morning light.

It lived inside, matter, where people grow into
bodies of flesh, thoughts and years to piece together
stories, that you knew me here and we talked of other places
never wanting to leave the one we knew.

Leaving Home

I believe there was jumping on multiple legs
at one time epic falls in the corners of years
playing with milestones from the pages of books
they have flown away to join the guardians
of antiquity. In hesitation, I sell my own memories
even my footsteps forgetful of their triumphs.

Head to head with these walls
hearing voices
I engrave your names
before I cannot call these boundaries your home
you knew me even before the air recognized the shape of our lives
look at you all on multiple legs
following me out for new beginnings.


in the tradition of holidays lost to anger
I revolutionize the art of walking away into compartments of the mind
retreat is permissible if meant to ignore the dark shape of eyes
rural minds ask no more from forgotten lovers
the freshly washed skin or the salted scent of ocean air
here is the intertwined physical harmony where I am no longer a child
the sand receding below my feet is taken to a place of greater meaning
some wholesome shore where you find what you want in cherished love
where I am who I promised you I would be, the ordinary and unspoken.

She Dreamt of Seals

I think of the seal she used to smirk of before his name,
he lay distant from the presence of her layered body,
solemn with a face depicted keenly from the outlines of the familiar.
It was frequent and deserved for her to control the setting,
the ice meant to cuddle an overheated mind
peace of mind swimming only in sleep.

I listened to the dream again and wanted the end to be different.
For her to save him just once because I knew him as someone else on the ice
a balanced man, steady, dignified,
the pedestal above a child’s expectations
but for nights, I trusted her to know the truth,
I had seen the other women waiting (as I do now)
for the nights to live dreams and create settings behind closed doors
create men as different animals.

So at the end of the dreams, where they were seals, it was always the same
a male too heavy, too clumsy to sustain life on thin ice
so he drowns each time
slips, my stomach heavy, unable to catch his body for the sake of her mind.


(written in honor of my grandmother who loved water, cold temperatures and the craziness of her own mind)

This Dance Made History

I live in the house of the child
where the windows are open, the doors ajar
to welcome the voices of spirits and strangers
stranger things brought once again to life.

she holds a supernatural grip on my expectations for sanity
choosing to embrace the voices of ghosts, it is hypnotic
I must say, as they sing—
so much so I am unable to dance
to the sound of any other song, give music to a new life.
“baby every couple does their own dance. they make it work.”
(growing into a familiar body of mistakes.)
physical space. dancing with the same ghosts
fancying unrequited love.

oh, the human, so weak, so fragile, like me
kindling the repetition of history
the fall of the empire is bound to come—
dance, dance again
before my sullen, clumsy crash.

The Mirror

for my son, age 7

Growing into himself too quickly
he questions the composition of his face
positions his eyes slightly closer together
as if an acute pose will make the
mirror aware of his inevitable manhood

tight with time, he is a builder, toppling
his hair, climbing it again with minded hands
he is arched as if running a bridge,
elevated in his position
as the undefeated ruler of himself.

I have encountered my only enemy,
I realize, a mirror that speaks to him
in futurist illusions of adulthood,
wherein lies of glorious independence
speak in imaginary tongue, and I
am the voice of unheard truth:

“romantic possibilities are not on the other side
of your reflection, know the blessing of your
present reality and speak to it as if it loves you
more than you can love yourself.”

The dark is my welcome time now
your original mirror, your arms tight
have you forgotten yourself?
simple presence with original source
oh, what little you know of life
I will teach you everything.