the queen of afterthoughts

i’m the only one

the puppy won’t love.


maybe it would have been me,

eventually, who cheated.


inside, i think i am safe;

but i just feel tiny.


i twist and turn, a mini-cube

trying to solve all my problems.


you started dying in utah.


the three of us were outsiders;

together, deep in thought.


now you are both gone.


she’s always there, now,

when i dream of you.


this means something.


meanwhile, my girl holds up the

walls; blocks the door, the windows.


her arms are exhausted.


and she is wading into the

deep water of adulthood.



don’t believe

the mirrors—


except in cars;

and even then,


in moderation.

i’m headed out


into the 3d world:

where i’m visible


in full—not just from

the front and torso up.


i need to feel real

pages in my hands,


real road under

my wheels. i’m


listening to tori,

trying to feel some-


thing. the truth is,

i don’t like music with


words anymore. there

are too many words in


the world. this is probably

how some people feel about


poetry; it’s how i feel about

poetry, sometimes. and yet,


here i am adding to the heap.

in my dream, my mom and dad


are young and happy. they look

like they did on their wedding day:


beaming and laughing and

of a piece. but we are also there,


we three girls. they’re drinking

red wine and being the life of the


dinner party: a glimpse into the

before. in another dream, i am


being assaulted by a robotic arm

with a giant camera eye. it’s still


attached to the corner where the wall

meets the ceiling as it roves over my


body, pressing down hard on me

with a hum. somehow it’s the whole


length of me. i think of the incubus

in florida, but after. in the moment,


in the dream, i’m just trying to

cry out for help—but it may all be


stuck in my head. there’s a loud

alarm going off that i think i’ve


triggered. how do dreams

become 3d? or is it all just


smoke and mirrors? i am a

vessel of shifting memory:


moving from bliss to terror to

bliss again. the wide extremes of


being. maybe this is how we

learn the middle, the balance.


as i sit and think of the years,

the sharp ache is finally gone—


but in its wake, a deep

loneliness that has


learned to expect,

and love, solitude.







worse for the wear

this is the poem i don’t want to write.

this is the poem that is not beautiful.


or maybe it is,

because it is true.


the truth is,

i wish she were worse for you.


the truth is,

i wish she would just disappear.


i wish she were not so much like me.

it would be easier to hate her.


for both

of us.


the truth is,

she is good for you.


the truth is,

she is better for you


than i

would be.


i try to woo you with

my words, mystery,





but the truth is,

i’ve never had a healthy



it feeds the


poetry, but not

the living.


the truth is,

if she disappeared


tomorrow, i would not

know what to do.


i would probably

cry for you.


and then

for me.


i am the one who

should disappear.


i am the one who

is worse for the wear.







i thought i lost you:

on my own—


twist of lightning;

home alone.





a paradox of



first steps,

first stay,


first time

driving away;


the lonely light house

winks at the bay.


and we lay, we lay,

we lay down our dark


arms and rub up against

the furry light of day.




snap shot 4

“I’m in trouble.”

She woke with these words in her mind, almost on her tongue. She wasn’t sure if the words were spawned by her feeling of despair upon facing another day with the chronic aches and pains (some inhabiting her body, and others visiting from an unknown place) and still no answers—or if they had been triggered by the random patchwork of dreams from the night: her wedding to an old love, her pregnancy by an ex-husband, her strange reunion with an old friend.

At least she was human in these dreams. And, lately, sometimes Kevin Arnold. She smirked at this, at the knowledge of the television world seeping into her reality—of her growing dependence on nostalgic shows to help escape from what felt like a dying garden. There was still beauty—all around—and some soil, and some water, and a little cold sun, and a few people wandering about; but there was also the nagging feeling of death, of things being slowly starved and shriveled, of other things sprouting oddities and twisting off in the wrong direction.

Lee often tried to be optimistic. Not quite cheerful (that emotion typically surfaced only when buzzed or caught up in a love balloon), but grounded in a larger picture of herself and this life—stabilized by an ever-present, irritating really, knowledge that things would somehow work out, would somehow be okay. She had felt this stoicism from her father, this cautious confidence. But lately she could feel herself slipping, her knowledge fading, her hope becoming heavy under the weight of loneliness, age, teenage cynicism, doubt, and now—injury.

Leonard Cohen knew. And he knew that everyone else knew, too. This life was unbearable, harsh, cruel even. And yet, startling in its beauty and unpredictable kindness. Navigating between these two extremes was a heroic, gymnastic effort which exhausted the trifecta of mind, body, and soul. No wonder she could barely get out of bed some days.

Some of her friends were tired of hearing about it. She didn’t have as many friends because of it, and usually she was relieved by this. It meant less expectation, less energy, less investment. But the reverse was also true: fewer people were invested in her. Less energy was being tossed her way. She knew her readers would also become impatient eventually—especially if she didn’t throw in a love scene soon. At least some suggestive dialogue. She laughed out loud as she struggled to stand.

“Love waits for no man.”

She thought of all the love that was happening all around her—and of her own small doses being exchanged within this house, and without. Within this world, and without. There were so many different types of love, and she would be damned if she was going to let herself get caught up in one or two tiny definitions. And anyway, was it love that waits for no man? Or time? Were they one in the same? She pictured a wild time-love horse charging away into the tide without its rider.

After all this thinking, Lee became tired. Coffee was up next, with a side of berry yogurt to cushion the belly against the delicious acid. What came after that was a new hope in the form of a phone call. There was a treatment for her broken foot, and she had been approved for it. A new path—beginning next week. She would throw everything she had into this hope.

She thought about her fear of surgery, and wondered if it was related to her other fears. She would not name them just yet. She would not give them credence. Instead, she would spend days, weeks—months even—trying on yet another opinion about how her life could be improved.


i am a sad song


but at least i

am singing.


i have fallen for my

own despair;


but i hate the refrain,

i despise the ending.


i miss the joy bursts of chorus:

were they ever really there?


…. sailing away like cursive

into the sky….


i go to another place

but the mirror brings me back;


the looking glass

in reverse.


do these words mean

anything to you?


i am alone.


reflected behind me, an

empty room;


within me, a deep

loneliness and a tiny




i have nothing to give;

i have every thing to


give but no one who

wants it.


i am forgetting how to love.



i wrote that poem

while sitting in a

waiting room. every

room is a waiting

room, really: a moment

wanting to bloom, to

become, to sing forth

like a glass of warm

rum and a night of

stars. my messages to

you are one-way, like

prayers—red-eye wishes

in a bottle, floating out

to sea—bobbing, whispering:

see me, see me.