Blue tulips in April are mine.
I have claimed them all as my own.
I allow them to cleave the ground
you watch them grow from,
every act of agriculture
a wayward rebellion
beneath a forgiving sun.
I am at this moment the devil’s gift
at communion, the air you take
as you swallow bread and wine.
Divine is the art you attempt
with blades and vases, an army of colors,
when the only one that concerns me is
as blue as the parrot’s plumage.
The parrot suffers from insomnia and says,
The end is nigh. Unusual words, perhaps,
for an avian protagonist. Green is
the color of Christmas wrapping paper
carefully folded on the ends so that
what is square is covered in a closing
of triangular flats. Every toy for a boy
is a train and every toy for a girl is
a doll, except when it is not.
And when all else fails, like a plane
losing altitude, like a baker who knows
the very second to remove the loaves
from the oven, the difference in toys
does not matter, they are a testament
to something rooted in the past.
In your eyes, a wink of blue
and the spring leaves of my very own
flower come alive.
And I allow one more minute, a few seconds
too long, and like the thick skin
of a baguette over-baked, I think to myself
that over time you will grow solid
and unbreakable. All the while your petals
grow loose and fall to the ground.
This poem appeared in East by Northeast, September 2020.
Damn the will. The day’s blotter
has given up the dead:
a girl’s name and alleged act of treason.
A wooden chair for her to sit,
should her location be revealed.
The plume, a plane, a vintner’s glass,
the sprocket in a mechanic’s bag of tricks.
I’d rather the search be
for something regal than the alternative,
a girl in a faded blue dress and a stitch
of remorse along the hem. Her simple act
of defiance was a raised glass and a toast
to simpler times, when a girl could grow into woman,
not fuel for a queen’s amusement, a fire left
to smolder in an open field, the many places
a royal sword can linger over the body
until what passes for allegiance
becomes severed and alone.
A sedan with stolen plates circles
the castle as a guard smiles and turns away.
He knows these are uncertain times.
An Uber or an assassin, either way no reward
in the status quo. Better to keep quiet
as a family tree splinters and catches fire.
The queen is the town’s fodder. Tonight, she
crackles and burns.
This poem appeared in Passengers Journal, July 2020.
Three years ago, before the separation,
hate-spattered yellow, Sherwin Williams,
the boundary of our bodies growing jagged,
then dashed, to suggest disputed territory.
I imagine you sleeping with the same intensity
of a squinting cat. You are not asleep,
yet things go more literally, smoothly,
as when the fret at the foot of the floor grieves openly,
the way morphine spiggles out the door and down the stairs.
Look what you made me do: a snake-eye roll of the zodiac.
This poem appeared in Midway Journal, 2020.
Before this, I was a cloud on good authority.
I didn’t have the heart to settle for anything less
than full iceberg against low hung sky.
She shatters the fence post from fist
to eye and back again.
The man who operates the chipper ride:
No need to keep your hands inside at all times.
A prayer for more blind, less vision in the time
it takes for an hour to pass.
The better part of an afternoon humming room.
The only way she’ll make it to the swearing in
is with a bag of pardons and a couple
right-leaning justices in the backside pocket.
A froth of black robes spilling to the floor.
Arabica beans on the outfield, low roasted.
The earthy simmer of plant and propane.
The fire department called in for recess.
The train conductor pauses at my row and smiles.
His punch card full, and his hands
the universal symbol for dancing.
This poem previously appeared in snapdragon, March 2020.