Pull roots from soil
Rich-red beets and radishes
Something that hasn’t felt
the taught smother of cellophane
Make it cheap, make it free
Pluck blackberries near highways,
smear the juices on my cheek
*This poem first appeared in the 2013 edition of the literary magazine, Portal.
You seek the company of
flora over fauna.
You flourish while being
rooted through earth and blood
You curate a grove
of potted plants–
hyacinth and mint,
and compost ruby skins
of dried pomegranate peels.
You were shucked
as a child.
Being maimed so young
left you raw,
but you were ripe enough
to nurture a camera,
bright enough to understand
techniques and keep your composure,
but the exposure of your wounds
made you wilt, and withdraw.
The illness slid out–
a serpent that took
hold of your mouth
with its jaw.
And you spoke of angels,
patterns and fractals,
lines on a leaf.
You spoke of waking
up on the ground,
pounding your heels,
pleading to be
Do you dread family dinners?
Does it make your jaw
clench, when someone passes potatoes
What’s there to do when a relative spews
a gravyboat worth of hate
against certain immigrants?
Is it worth the dry turkey
to sit there ashamed, while your great aunt
blabbers on about homosexual campaigns?
Sure, you can offer your well-researched facts.
You might even do so with saint-like
tact. But if all else fails, feel free to leave:
Critical thought will provide more peace
of mind than would grudgingly passing the peas.
The following is a found poem. It uses only words received in various rejection letters.
We thank you for your interest.
We appreciate it.
And we know it sucks. (another rejection.)
unfortunately, unfortunately, unfortunately,
We’re going to have to pass.
You aren’t quite right.
You don’t meet our needs.
You aren’t really the right
I want to be your skin, repair
and renew your wounds, turn
cuts and sores from scab to shining
scar. I will soften the aurora
borealis blue starbursts
of bruises. Plot white lightning
stripes as you stretch. Move
from bubbling blister to callus.
I will freckle in the sunlight
and ignite pink blush
under the gaze of strangers
My tacit intent is to protect,
for you I am elastic
I am not to speak to you—I am to think of you when I sit alone, or wake at night alone, I am to wait—I do not doubt I am to meet you again, I am to see to it that I do not lose you. “To a Stranger”, Walt Whitman
You sit, scribbling on a napkin
halfway across the café. Sipping
steaming cups of cappuccino
with maraschino lips. I know I am not to speak to you—I am to think of you when I sit alone, or wake at night alone
From your bag comes every book
I’ve cradled in the bath and treasured
on my nightstand. They have been written
for our conversations, and yet I am to wait —I do not doubt I am to meet you again
Finally you rise. The buttoning
of your coat precedes the forward
scraping of your chair. We share a glance
before you find the door and step through. I am to see to it that I do not lose you