five points

i am soft in the center.

don’t tell. i dry out

and wave my angry arms around.

but even my spikes are soft once i come back to life.

you see this once you are close up; you make this happen.

 

my daughter’s tiny hand used to spread out

over the hill of my breast while feeding.

my chest would rise, and fall—and her plump hand,

her whole plump body—would fill up

like a happy balloon.

 

she lets herself get very empty these days;

she likes the feeling

of being light and airy,

of floating—playing with non-existence.

in dreams, she flies weightless over the sea from which she was fished.

 

i, in contrast,

am so full. full of worry; full of fear;

full of love and gratitude and joy.

full of food, wine, sadness, thoughts;

full, at times, of empty.

 

we are each the star in our own galaxy.

things revolve around our soft openings as they are commanded;

other things shrink, collapse, get sucked into a black hole;

and some things laugh as they expand—like a wide-open mouth—

glinting beyond our greatest imagining.

 

 

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meet hope

my heart is full.

 

coming back on a high note,

a wave, something that’s still moving.

 

“change is good for me, mom,”

she says.

 

i know what she means. it isn’t

easy; but it’s good.

 

we take the green for granted,

all around us, all the time.

 

it reminds us to keep growing.

 

we are going to keep going.

we are not backing, breaking down.

 

we put our feet in the rushing tide, in the sand.

she runs around like a little girl—under the night sky,

 

on the edge of the world.

 

there is no moon, but we keep looking for it—expecting it

to pop up right at our feet.

 

it’s that kind of night.

 

we go out to the place where we can feel,

and meet hope.

 

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.

we are december

while we were away,

winter happened.

 

i came home to fresh

frost on the grass.

 

we share this set of days,

this slow creep toward

 

the center of the snow

globe maze. at any moment,

 

a child’s hand can scoop

up the glass and shake us into

 

oblivion. her delight is

our delay. in the falling

 

flurries, i find you: wrapped

in your mother’s red scarf—

 

holding the hand of time.

we are the child, the snow,

 

the mother, the scarf;

we are december.

 

 

asylum

look behind you:

the orchard-lined hall-

way; all the things that have

grown up and pushed out fruit

 

in your wake; the worn door frames

and door knobs, the sleeked floors slipping

under committed feet, the living point of contact

keeping you both here, resolved—all in, so to speak.

 

not since those first nine months

have you ever been so

in love with a

lynchpin.

fill

we fill, you fill,

they fill;

fill it up,

top it off,

until it breaks—

over and over:

this tiny fist of a machine

inside a bigger machine with

too many inputs and not

enough outputs. our off-

spring crack us open again

and again. we are nothing but

mechanized eggs. it’s not what

we want to hear; it’s not what

we want to believe; but we

are born into it with nowhere

else to go. we stare out the

two portals—sometimes three,

if we’re lucky—and try to really

see: our mother, our father, our

motherland, our altar. we act out

the lines of our code, never truly

understanding the words. the

motherboard is never satisfied.

 

 

 

and the creeks don’t rise

in every dream, a house;

in every room, a hole: a

broken floor, an exposed pipe, a

gaping window wanting to be a door.

 

at the end of a life, last words

are overrated: i’m so confused;

i’m in trouble; get the hell away

from me. it’s not like the movies.

 

you better hope you made your

amends, exchanged embraces,

made your love known while there

was still clarity. the last gasping

 

moments are not made for love.