Bad Dad


I wipe tiredness from my eyes.It’s morning, another day survived. And so begins the drip of last-night scoopsof coffee into a mug, World’s Greatest Dad. I fail to measure up to that cup’s depth,a half-assed bundle of Irish rage and remembrance of children dancing gingerlyas I brood in my La-Z-Boy. I exchange mementos of saved ticket stubsand photos taken at the zoo in front of the...

Just Like Your Mother


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 intensityof 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...

Courtside Tickets


What stands between your words and my actions,is a barrel of government contractors, an asteriskalong the ankles, a four-letter word for treason.I am at this very point two sides stapled togetherand presented lengthwise; a catapult of shameand a horse in need of re-shoeing. There is a precipice of pupil and promise,a red velvet rope at the local theater, designedto simultaneously keep out and in...

Breaking Point


My mother spent my teenage years saying she couldn’t take it anymore, but she did. She had no choice but to take it 7 days a week. Chugging coffee over the sink before her commute to work, looking out the back window where the sun would cut into the morning. A lit cigarette in the ashtray beside her. At night she’d make a pot of spaghetti swollen double size on account of the hour on...

Spring Flowers in a Vase


The husband brings home a vase filled with white daisies because he knows his wife likes surprises, and there have been so few lately. The vase is clear with internal cracks that don’t quite run through the entire side. He had joked with the cashier that he hoped it would hold water, which it does as his wife fills it and places it in the middle of the kitchen island. The vase bereft of...

The Easy Way Out


I rearrange my grandmother in loose-leaf pages, each poem a memory, a sterling trinket in a felt pouch I keep by my side, often touching it throughout the day, the way one checks a phone through a pocket. There is the poem where she teaches me about the many tastes and states of salt, the one where I learn to measure for biscuits using my hands: a palmful of lard, a turn of the wrist for a pour...

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