purgatory bingo

in the waiting room we talk about super bowls
& rice makers. uncle jo is there eating 
a twinkie. then, the fine china is on the floor
& no one seems to know what is coming next.
there are bells on the walls. old ladies &
a girl i sat next to in seventh grade science class.
she's popping pink gum. there are teeth in my pocket.
i keep it to myself. maybe there is a list
with names. maybe there is another room full
of light & free toothpaste. i count none of my boyfriends
& all of my girlfriends here. an empty water cooler.
a television & all i can think is "soon. so soon."


stamp booklet

in the little stamp square i see a carrier pigeon
who has a letter in his mouth for me. 
the mail person at the post office window explains 
this is the "extinct animal series." all the stamps today 
are macabre. the last booklet he showed me
was of gravestones & the one before that, 
pictures of famous killers. the killers wink 
when you shifted the letter in the light. i guess no one
has time anymore for letters anyway. i mostly 
look in my mailbox for god. i settle on the animals
in the hopes this pigeon letter is something good.
in my car, i ask to see it & the bird swallows it whole. 


canopic jars

i pluck my organs like apples. might as well
get a start on sorting this viscera. 
i give you the head of anubis & say,
"let's begin." you do not want to be a priest
as no one in their right mind wants to be a priest. 
once i found a jar like this burried in the woods.
it had a beating heart inside. i re-burried it
but i still think about it every day. was it yours?
mine? i want to do the same with myself. scatter body
like squirrels sew nuts. for later. a liver beneath
a horus head beneath the willow trees. everywhere 
is a tomb or else, an afterlife, if you are ready.  



where were you when the universe told
her green? i was shopping online. rings 
i bought you that gave use halos. radium 
on the ceiling like a balloon child. 
we jumped electric rope. shaved our heads.
lived whole lives as bowling balls. i wound
the sound of baseball bats around your finger.
let's not forget the veins of the house or
the trumpets that fell into the cellar 
while we were busy kissing. pennies in their
bunkbeds getting ready to be unused. i told you
"i wish it was gold." string rays fly over head.  


needle point

i sat in the rocking chair & became an anchoress.
cut threads like veins. the moon was a wooden hoop
pulled taut with clothe. what i am trying to say
is i need a plot of land to sew violets.
i need a window large enough to shatter 
when i throw a rock. i work all night. there is 
a ghost baby in a basinette. he is studying 
gender in the hopes he might get one. dipping needle
in & out of the skin. the clothe. the clothe skin.
there is always an underneath. dolphins beach themselves
& turn into women. i never said this was for you.
i meant only to keep busy. to stave off the curtains. 


wearing black

a flock of crows come to live in my house.
we play chess. we eat popcorn & watch horror movies.
controlled terror is my only comfort these days.
did you hear the police have marble eyes 
they are rolling through the city? i know every stone
is speaking the language of the dead. once you start
wearing black, you do not want to stop. it's an alleviation. 
the crows compliment me & ask if i ever considered
becoming a contract shadow. just for a night, of course.
i say i am staying amateur here. no need 
for perminance. the crows knit me black sweaters
& sew black dresses. soon, we are family in a bright eclipse.


private parts

i wear a fig leaf for a face until
someone notices. thrive on indecency.
i'm all here for public displays of privacy.
the telephone booth. the confessional.
birds are private today & so are stop signs.
has anyone ever told you, you're allowed
to keep parts of yourself away from your lovers?
i think it is important to culivate mystery.
then again, once i saw a church burn down
for the sake of privacy. there is nothing left
to the imagination in a fire. gone & gone.
trust me, i want to just show you, but i can't.


the swan unzips the beautiful 

out comes a bucket of moths. do you know
we are killing the children? do you know
no one is female anymore? soon there will be
just a great big field of USB drives. 
i once asked my mother why god is a man
& she said "because he creates outwardly."
i sit in a garden of thumb tacs. mirror mirror
on the wall who is the femmest of them all?
the swan is standing with a knife in my bedroom.
i'm going to have to face them soon. 
a round applause for anyone trans wearing a dress. 
the moths have a plan but i do not.


crooked-ing teeth

in my mouth there is a cemetery for beetles.
my teeth wear clogs. my teeth ask
the worst questions like, "why does the sky
taste bitter?" the planet is slowly putting on
a wedding dress. we have lost touch
with ceremony. my teeth sing all night 
& i knock on them saying, "keep it down."
they cannot help it. they are trying to give a warning.
i have watched over the years as they have gotten
more & more crooked. first just a twisted ankle.
now, armless mannequins. it's too late to be pristine.
instead, i smile like a riverbend. the beetles are not dead.


glass 1/2 empty

i'm at the point where 1/2 empty
is dreaming. i look at glasses & i see
clusters of frog eggs. i see their little souls 
full of legs & i wonder if they will live full 
& happy lives or if someone will come along 
& swallow them down. it will not be me. i am too busy 
feeding cheerios to my imagination, saying, "only a few more
years of living like this." the cardboard world
asks me all the questions i can't answer like
"who?" & "how?" the secret is there will
only be one or two frogs. the rest will remain commas.
truly though, the glass is not 1/2 empty, it's just empty. 


coat hanger party

we all came with our favorite regrets.
me with a bundle of door knobs & you with
the coat you refused to wear even though
you looked beautiful in it. it is never
really "tomorrow" is it? it's today & today.
sometimes at a party like this there will be
games. we stand in a circle & try to dream.
everyone can hear me thinking but they are
too polite to say anything. we all choose
a hanger to hold by its feet. i'm told i was
never an infant. we drink punch. we tell stories
of our children. linger until the moon is put away. 



you told me you wanted a beach house
so i stayed up all night gathering thread.
each of my tongues in their terrarium 
held a dialog about creation. one asked
another, "where does an idea come from?"
i am no longer sure there are bad people.
the hat i make is for a baby i will not have.
it is best to fit all your wanting inside 
a thimble. i have been prone to hooks
crochet & otherwise. it's never enough though.
find me keeping buckets of yearning. yes, i know,
i will need to pour them out. just one more day.


warning: graphic content

your day will have severed. a car
plows through the wall of your heart.
living room smoke detectors. we carve names
in apple tree necks. the bomb shaped
like a lemon. on the side walk we find
salted snails. shelter in place. a tropical storm
named after your ex. she used to stand
in the driveway & scream. it was your fault
but only in the way all rivers have a mouth.
a man with no fingers. slaughterhouse on wheels.
i used to ask, "can i open my eyes?" now, i say,
"good morning, fire." 


licking our lips

we spent all night trying to eat 
the moon's heart. slippery poet
& the knife was too dull. i saw 
in the glow of our freshly dead god
that you had a smile of orange to feast on.
nectar is another word for glory & joy wears
a silver backpack & just keeps walking.
all i want is to kneel & indulge. farm animals
amble the streets looking for an ancient 
agrarian society. they fill a bus & go
to the field of salt. my mouth waters 
every time i hear a bell. pavlov knew nothing.



i put my emotions in the microwave.
it's time to feel guilty again. i hide
all my knives in ziploc bags. eat the ears
off an orange. do you hate me? do you hate me now?
once, i got the silent treatment & for two weeks
i didn't say a word aloud. my tongue sang
like a canary in a coal mine. there aren't
enough shovels in case it rains dirt.
are you listening? every time i breathe 
a bird dies. no. i know that's where
the truth goes to eat canned peas. "i know
you're talking about me," i say to the field. 


the trees grow eggs

& we were so unprepared. it is autumn &
when i walk, i try to catch as many
as i can. pockets full. hands full.
inside each is a dead angel. i do not know
what can be done with their bodies. 
at first, i tried burials but not the soil 
weeps with eyes. we should be more careful 
with yearning. if we are not careful it will be
the egg tooth in a space suit. here comes 
gravity. here comes a comet with your name. 
i can not try to save one more. but, there i am,
still running to catch. arriving too late.



you bring me every wheel you can find.
the horses have long gone to drink juice boxes.
everything is one fire & i no longer want 
to put it out. i want to win something. 
we wear laurel crowns & sit criss-cross applesauce
on the front lawn of a dictator's house. 
when we say the code word "gold" we know
it's time to bury our hands. nothing to see here.
the time will come to race one another 
for the basket of half-rotten strawberries. 
i will win & eat them all myself. i have 
a chariot to keep alive. i can not be sorry. 


fertility clinic

don't believe every egg you talk to.
some might working to become lightbulbs.
i used to look in the mirror & see 
a family portrait. now i see windmills.
when i worked at the farm i would kneel
& shuck corn until i found one with 
a baby inside. then, i would take a walk 
& pretend i saw nothing. inside every bone
there is a latent ghost. i am haunted 
by houses that have yet to become houses.
walls turn white when i'm left in them too long.
i find an egg on my pillow every night for a year. 


cucumber melon

do you have a hair tie? do you have
any hair? i grew a stomach to salvage 
the day's bagels. cut my own bangs.
what else is an angel-killer to do?
raise your hand if you had enough to eat today.
brushing granola from my lap. a chipped black nail.
i would draw the initials of girls i liked
on the palm of my hand & close my fist 
until the ink melted unrecognizable.
shoe squeak on the waxed wood. a fish tank 
swimming with earrings. are you wearing that to school?
full length mirrors. the smell of her jump rope. 


pickling the photographs

i told you we missed the exit. drove eight more states
& then we snapped a shot of us beneath the belly
of a giant moose. all of you teeth fell out 
& we had to follow the trail to the valley of death.
i promised if we made it out alive, i would be
your daughter. a straw hat. a strawberry field.
nothing is forever but especially not family.
there is the immediate kissed on the forehead 
& then there is the mutation process. sometimes i think
how many times can i change my gender? i am a flipbook.
watch me rubber ball. this is not a picture of us anymore. 
it's a picture of who we thought we were to each other.



the wallpaper tells me we were supposed to be 
women. i wear a dress with a gun holster.
we fill the bathtub with red grapes
for mashing. i keep saying "girlfriend" 
& alternating between meanings. lover & almost lover.
the rocks in the river know what we came to do.
take our hair down. feed planets to the lion
until he is ready to sleep for another hundred years.
you feed me crystals. rose quartz & obsidian & sapphire.
hard candy-hearted. grandmothers come with glow worms
to light the collapsing house. i never meant to tell
but now look where we are. the world knows. 



i have been trying to forgive you.
god rides in a little red truck. all the horses
are melted down for glue. we paste macaroni 
to make constellations. i used to be so angry.
that saturday after i had surgery when we sat
on either side of a match box & pretended 
i wasn't a wound. your smile is kneaded bread.
let's not be family anymore. let's be race car drivers
or ship makers. neither of us have the knees or genders
for becoming priests. i scraped my plate. 
painted you a portrait of us in all blue.
the apple falls & falls. i sleep somewhere else. 



in the bird garden the glass blower wears
a wooden face. is careful to talk sweetly 
to the fire so as to not lose his teeth.
all day he works making skulls: baby skulls
& dead men skulls & possom skulls. 
lets the heat shape each fabulation. this boy
will come to want an apple orchard 
& this person will always crave a balcony.
our wants are this old. yearnings from our makers 
& all the garden birds who whisper in the oldest langauge. 
he holds each skull before setting them 
on a mossy stone to be taken & put to use.


mother-daughter dresses

we put our faces in hat boxes after
the sunday service. everyone worth their soot
had been sacrificed to the father-maker.
at home, the clothe came like a dragon.
enveloped the whole living room. all i was doing
was trying to smile. the mirrors had grown eyelashes.
no more birds for the year. mother got the stork scissors
& promised she would be quick. being a daughter
is always quick. a chair with no legs.
empty dinner plates. sons in the fire place.
no more wood, we must use boys. she said, "now, 
they will know you belong to me."


sky saving

we went out with our ice cream scoops 
to pick favorite pieces of sky.
everything has been burn pile lately
& i don't expect many more years of blue.
the jars we use are worn & the sky goes in
like jello angels. all i want to is enough sugar
to last me the rest of my life. i wish there were still
phenonmenon that still felt certain. instead, 
i boil the jars. caught a cloud & a blush of sunset. 
in this world, there has been too much 
or not enough keeping. my sky belongs to me. 
that is, until it is night & i am lonely again. 



i started with dead squirrels who would talk 
like thimbles all autumn rain. together
we ran the moon out of the sky. we ate bark
& shot arrows at crows. a fork beneath the tongue.
candlelabras floating inside our chests. 
there is always a trail to follow back.
unlike the otherside, this life rings & rings.
i tell a deer carcass "follow the flute in the hallway."
she wakes up. frantic with gunshots & wild onion. 
everyone is folded twice. here is my altar.
here is where we butcher the ghost. here is 
the dance i ask of you, my darling. rise for me. 


a dislike for honeydew

we fed the graveyard chex mix & in return
everyone went home with plastic rings.
i had a ghost for years who begged
for canteloupe. i ate it all without sharing.
saved only honeydew for him. he'd make
necklaces of the seeds. legs on the street
have been wild lately. prone to running.
a stray dog took a bite out of the sun
& burst into flames so now the days are 
an hour shorter. i don't mind the green fruit.
i could eat a whole skull with just a spoon
but i'm not a little kid anymore. 


word of the day

the word of the day is where we met 
to shed our snake skins. is the secret tongue
of spoons. is a grandmother adjusting antenae.
is where you took me when you didn't remember
i had a body. is the headlight of your face.
is the graveyard on the hill looking out at a smug moon.
is digging for stone with bare hands. is your hand
around my wrist as you say, "we are going."
into the woods where words are nothing but carrion. 
is a place to feed. is a watering wound. is how
we thought we would stay alive. is every door you told me 
was a love poem. is opening my mouth, no sound coming out.


innocence machine

i stuck my hand inside the hollow of a god tree
& it came out full of marbles. 
walking through weeds & weathered moth flocks,
i am looking for a place to bury my teeth.
if only. if only. when i was the size of 
a black bear, i used to eat with my fingers.
soon, i will come upon a great box of transmogrification.
it will chew me until i am the purple jelly bean
or else the echo of a sincere bought of laughter.
when was the last time you cut the head off 
a plague creature? the difference between my child-self
& my now-self is now i am polite to my own desctruction.


slow leak

for weeks that winter i would drive each day
to the gas station at the foot of the mountain to
refill my front tires. kneeling in cold gravel
winter made my skin red & raw. how deeply i craved
to uncover myself. at home again, becoming a mirror ghost.
shower steam. dinner alone at the white dining room table.
more calls for snow. dim light of my television.
a companion. the pandemic had lost its legs. now crawled 
through my body with a kind of loneliness 
only queer people can know. i befriended windchimes
& fed the raccoons my scraps. just to find 
my tires wilted again in the morning.


tea cup language 

everyone has been talking like toppled kingdoms.
i waved to my neighbor yesterday just to see
he had a steak knife for a face. this hunger 
is restless. a stray dog of wooden spoons 
runs endlessly all night. a bird falls into
our cracked bedroom window & i scold you for opening 
too many pathways. i am, in many ways, a sealed urn. 
my ashes are my ashes. i just want to go sit 
with the tea cups. pretend my life is behind a glass case 
where all we can talk about are the names of flowers 
& lost lovers' lips. the cups always reject me. 
they know i'm not one of them. they hear my voice waver.     


one night

you told me you didn't want to be alone
& neither did i. it was raining & the headlights
of your car made pearls of every fall.
i did not pretend to know you. you did not
pretend to know me. there is an intimacy 
only culled from strangers. i only had one chair
in my dorm room. the lamp fell over. i made
a door bell inside your mouth. come home. come home.
your phone lock screen was a sunset. was it
a picture you took? all skin is soft in this dark.
when it was over the rain had stopped. we walked together 
between street lamp islands. then, divided.  


love sick

i walk my dog on a leash into a red room.
i don't actually have a dog. we were on fire
& i touched your hand & i said, "anything
for you." laying awake until the moon was just
a potato roll. dads shuffled in the kitchen 
putting slippers in the microwave. what i wouldn't do
to go back to those first nights. hovering
from room to room. i don't have a dog. the room
was never red but for you, it was. i kissed
every window for luck. then, in the dark, wept.
remembered all the dried up lakes. your coat
standing in the driveway by itself. 



conduit of my animal. let's mammal 
until we have enough blood. make loud pipe opera. 
gator a family. o my calliope teeth. oil. soap. 
they tell you not to say the word but
the word becomes a body prophecy. once, sun-bathing
now in the banana peel realm
with all the corporation rot. here, babies are still
in their boxes. muck. mirrors. memory sprouts
her antenna. radios croon into footprints.
you talked into the drain, conjuring me.
how could you know my terrors? you did not want me.
you wanted to speak & watch each word grow legs. 


popcorn garden

in a handful, i live like bees.
trees on their iphones say, "i am almost here."
the garden had bad service & brown paper bags.
i hid myself in piles. the movies came
with their butter & police men. 
we watched over & over until the roses
had learned how to speak all our dead languages.
crunching on a mourning dove heart.
kernels for eyes. all i can hear are rustling leaves.
trash bags full of eyelashes. the garden 
stopped weeping & so i started. it went wrong.
so wrong. i convinced myself only i could see it. 



sometimes a bucket of skulls stares at me
through the walls from where it sits
in the other room. i don't want to endure
like a candle in the back of a raccoon's throat.
but the thing about bodies is there will
always be a new one. i hope my next body 
is a bowl or a spoon. so much depends upon
a mouth's worth of blood. i stop at a gas station
between here & heaven & eat in my car. 
talk to god who hides in the glove box.
at the end of the day there is just the river
& even she doesn't know what her next throat is.


dandelion salad 

i have been hungry for years.
what can fit in my mouth: mountains
of baby shoes, a ceiling fan, & handfuls of pollen.
i dip my fingers in bronze. make a cast of my reaching.
the field has enough to eat but not enough
to make an animal of me. where has your famine
taken you? i sleep walk into a lion's mouth.
turn into a heart or a rib. some days i stop
to pick the weeds, not like a gardener but like
a family member. i dig for the root. missing legs.
little girls. lop-sided apples. plates of belonging.
the table is long & dark. i am in the salad's dream. 


a highway runs through the garden of eden

i strip mall myself & then i feel 
almost better. eat apples in parking lots.
pillow talk with a dumpster. the demons sulk
collecting broken glass & hurling it
at the wrought iron garden gates. when eden
shows up along the side of the road i try
to drive with my eyes closed. i don't want
mythology. at least not anymore. i want 
only to be fed. a stoplight bears fruit.
i don't believe i was ever naked. maybe 
in a past life as a lemon. now, i just open my mouth
& wait for snakes to come. 


towers of babel

sometimes my tongue collapses in on itself
& all i can say is "i'm sorry." language for me
is the bird that breaks against window.
often i open my mouth & find a ziggurat.
the gods do not speak at all. i am trying
to cradle my own babylon. watching those other worlds
in lake water. i stand on ceilings to try to tell 
a truth. prophets burried up to their elbows.
i am not the words that read me & yet often
a single word will be all i can think for a whole year. 
i can't tell you what it is now. that would kill the magick. 
instead i will show you the tower. 


space camp

in the summer, i built a planet 
inside my mouth where i traveled to be
an astronaut. ate nothing but fruit roll-ups
& planted picnic tables to visit in my chest.
in the house everyone walked around 
with telescopes for eyes. my parents saw 
nebula but not mice or moths. 
in the neighborhood i once knew a boy who had been 
to the sun & a girl who burried venus in her yard.
i kept my celestial to myself. a ladder reached
from my yard to the moon. there, alone, i pretended 
to be sitting among fellow travelers. 


living telescope 

all the gumball planets to chew on.
i wait here as if i might pull the infinite 
into the living room. meat balls for dinner. 
my father stands at the window talking 
about world war two generals.
mars is wearing her clip-on earrings 
& jupiter is a wedding cake. tonight,
i am just a boyhood inside a girlhood. 
putting a tiara on pluto. the galaxy is trans like me 
in the sense that everything keeps eating itself. 
my father takes out his eyes to roll them as dice.
planet-x pupils. pulpit of dead stars. i listen. 


sea shell

i want to give my mom the ocean.
we eat meatloaf in heaven & all the animals
are sea animals. i found my gills in a trash can
& every day i have looked back like orpheus
into the mouth of the could-have-been.
this new life is made of glass. this new life
is full of rice noodle windows. i eat my way
through sadness & find more sadness
on the other side. shot-gun is where future lives.
begs to go home. if only i had enough money to buy 
the biggest sea shell in the world. 
she could live in it. we all could. 


ghost crabs

we crouch in the october sand to watch
as the ghost crabs operate their graveyards.
burry wedding rings & sea glass & teeth.
a shipwreck happens every seven seconds.
we close our eyes & pretend it is not happenings.
it is not a year at all. we all are still walnuts.
the ocean spits another mermaid on shore.
she has daggers for teeth & wild blackberry eyes.
the ghost crabs come to trim her hair. they say,
"you will never fall in love like this." 
i will never fall in love like this, waiting.
waiting for a whale to fall from the sky. 


light house

some of us cut off our lips & watched
as they turned into gulls & butterflies.
i became the shipwreck captain. told everyone,
"that is not an ocean. not anymore." eagerly,
they accepted. it was a dead god. culling debris,
we found scalpels. used the blades to slice clouds
for ourselves to eat & to cradle. when pillars are falling,
you will want to give everything a name.
daughter & son & lover. the masthead lay like
a bundle of arms. i carried her until her "her"
was gone & it was just wood. in the house we turn off
the light. carry it to the basement. hoard each ray. 


day w/ landscape

i searched for flies to hold. hand inside hand.
my fists like ripe apples. autumn in an ice box.
milkmen drinking syrup. the hills stopped sleeping
years ago & now all they do is cough. 
valley where the buttons go to become beetles.
there's no one to tell me i'm not just 
a stone collecting moss. dig in earth for mirrors.
every one of them empty. our souls were feed
for race horses. they ran to pieces. we try 
to get them back. stained glass lake. 
saints on the edge brushing grubs from their hair.
i manage to find a spoon. i swallow it for safety. 


keep out sign

i need a podcast to tell me where to carry our skulls.
crystal & wax. beyond is the beyond. here is ash. 
so, i go elsewhere-ing myself all the way to 
the house of the abandoned woman. a vigil skeleton. 
nothing but knot & rot. she shakes her head at me, "no no no." 
in the house, mice play pretend as humans. cook casseroles
& say the rosary. there was not enough warning words.
"out" is a place i have always been crawling towards. 
outside. outcast. outrun. then, "keep," is to be broken toy. 
keep me in canisters. keep me as fire wood. who is to say 
if the room is full of nails or apples? so, i enter. 
a snake in the corner plays banjo. says, "go on."  


sugar glass

we talked through tin cans for years.
your house, on the other side of broken. 
my nest, in the see-through trees. from the sky
feathers fell & melted on our tongues. sweet 
& dangerous. rocking horse rocked on & on. nothing 
could quiet my need to devour your family's crystal goblets.
i watched as your father hunted & killed rabbits
for their sugar. slitting a throat. white fur.
hunger will bring anyone to the statue forest. 
you promised to deliver me a bowl of cream &
never came. so, i ate what i could. buttons 
& door knobs. found our talking can full of shards. 


rip van winkle

who hasn't slept for twenty years 
in the wild dark woods? i mourn my waking like an animal. 
for so long sleep pressed her spider web face to mine.
fingers falling rain. ripening planets.
mars, the little apple. i used to be able 
to carve hollows in my own shadows. then, came nightmares.
blighted moon. corn husks full of eyes. 
my father telling me i need to keep moving 
from dawn to dusk. him as a bear. him as a woodpecker. 
now, here, orange suns chew my bones. there is sleep 
& then there is the world after. peeling moss from skin. 
where are we? where is the woods? how do i sleep again? 


jungle gym

in the mulch, we burry our heads
& run around without sound or sight. 
my childhood was a worm graveyard &
a torn skirt. now, every day i am going backwards
towards playground. it sings a song
about vivisection. jungle gym remembers my touch. 
spines grow wild. from dirt & from inside trees.
tasting wood in our mouths. grasp cool 
metal bars & follow them until they burst verdant. 
rainbow texture. jungle. voices like rain fall
promises we are safe here. i dread trying to find my head 
& seeing how small this escape is.



graveyard is the whole apartment building
& inside the refrigerator & inside every cupboard.
we put shovels to sleep. tune televisions for dirt. 
decomposition. worms write hieroglyphs. beetles advertise. 
i bought an electric graveyard & a self-service graveyard.
the dead have instagram accounts. are selling
robot therapy. tell me, do you remember your first death?
mine was behind glass. loss of blood & fingers.
the highway opens its perennial wounds. neon graveyard. 
lover graveyard. gas station graveyard. a neighbor died
last night & the ambulance had graveyard lights.
i scrolled in my graveyard. then, slept in my graveyard.