Morning

Ants were moving over their red sand nest
like satellites rearranging amongst the constellations,
orbiting the opening that led
to a damp dark infinite nest of mazes.
The smell of rot wafted across the yard,
something like the stench of decomposing flesh
or wet soil unearthed into the sunlight for the first time.
It was like the baking of clay
with seaweed and ocean life hardening inside.
The sun was a sedative bearing down on her,
heating the backs of necks and
lulling all into a state of apathetic bliss.
She watched the morning unfold
in the crabgrass: the grasshoppers blinking
in and out of sight; the willow branches drifting
like cheery, lazy pennants; swallows free-falling
to the ground in graceful undulations.

Snowy Morning/For Emily

The snow falling this morning reminds me of you
Tree limbs so crisp and the world is new

I sit at my window, watching the street
To reminisce and envision the next time we meet

My heart knows I likely won’t see you again
So my imagination must fill that void in

Are you building a snowman, or tunneling deep
To a whole different world where wild wolves sleep?

Are you sipping hot cocoa and playing a game
Of witches and fairies and dragons to tame?

Are you running through snowdrifts, wild and free
Knowing all of the good things you’ll be?

I sit at my window, not crying, not really
Recalling the serious times and the silly

Thinking back to our jokes, our games, and our smiles
The frustration and anger every once in a while

When you love someone, see, each memory sticks
So you carry them always in your bag of tricks

And when I start to miss you, I’ll think of those days
We acted like sloths creeping down the hallways

The students and teachers all looked so confused
When we said, “We’re just slothing around, how ‘bout you?”

I wish you goodbye as snow creates a fresh place
And hope wherever you are, you’re smiling and safe

What’s that smell?

Poverty doesn’t just look like
an empty kitchen, smell like dust and stale air.
This kind of poor smells alarming,
like something is very sick
It looks more shameful

And the children know it. They say,
“Miss, what’s that smell?” and look
towards one of their classmates
And I have to say, “Don’t you worry,
we’re taking care of it, now
get back to your writing.”

And in their eyes, I see
no gratitude, just a quiet grief

Resolved

Why did you leave me that night
terrified, all alone in that big house
sloppy and stumbling and then throwing up
and not remembering and chewing pills
and taking long gulps of gin and vodka, why
did you leave, how could you?

And when she asked, “Resolved?”
I said yes.
And she marked it down on the chart then
said, as an afterthought
“I guess those things are never really resolved though.”

Salt

I salt our toast,
spread avocado thick and ripe.
I worry the drive to the coast will strain
this friendship
so we stop in the fog
to catch salt in our lashes.

The coast of my bed drops off
into thick fog. I lash our friendship
to the bow, ride through the night.
We strain to spy land
or taste something other than salt.

Fog seeps through the curtains,
invades the coast, thickens in our lungs.
A friendship under strain; I lash out.
You are salt in my wounds.

This friendship is thick with salt.
I strain to leave the coast, but
the fog has lashed me down.

Comfort

I say, Can you use the word comfort in a sentence?
She is leaning into me, shoulder pressing,
bright blonde hair sweeping into my lap
She thinks hard, crafting the perfect image

I comfort with my dog
she says simply

And all their freckles and sweet little hands
And their big wide dreams and pale faces
noses and cheeks cherry red from the winter air
Bring hot tears to my eyes in a tender rush

She continues to ponder
I go to sleep and wake up
and I still comfort with my dog