The past is an animal with its teeth bared.
and she’ll never die, and we won’t either.
you have a mother, but you do not have a mother. / we can see that on the tests.
Nothing / about my grandfather was soft, // though he planted fruit trees / in improbable climates.
Listen to the palpitating of this horse / heart and I will answer in the language // underneath this skin.
The boys have never seen him, don’t believe he’s real, but the girls all whisper about the latest boogeyman, the Deer Lord they see outside their bedroom windows at night; the deer who wears a human skull over his own face.
Once, I offered pieces of myself to every man—my hands, my coins, my words—
I don’t own a cheese grater. capitalism makes this okay.
And, too, the minding of where to step – the one rotten apple in the shade with the bees feasting.
In my history, I was the prettiest girl in town who was seduced by the summer eclipse or the hellion who stole the keys of Daddy’s 1958 Impala
Her many-boned arm comes out and there in her hand is a tattoo gun, already buzzing and dripping ink.
Hope is a naked goose that made a wrong turn somewhere.
Last week I / courted the moon from a stop sign.
we were plunged into the river / and made holy the pale man
I found you bitty in a snap pea, plucked you out and swallowed you whole, / rivered your body through my insides and grew it quietly. What bad men? we say.
and on the eighth day, my grandfather’s church organ fell down heaven’s / winding staircase & became a persimmon tree the size of my fist.
Nargis hits and we belch out thought and memory. / Overturned electric lines crackle with teeth.
we teach ourselves to crack without spilling over / the egg before it does not hatch
the kind that stinks like shit & empties you. to say i can’t, for whatever reason, take this shit, but for days now have felt like i need to.
I eat paintings the way a woman eats bibles — in the back corners of used book stores, the cracked leather and faux gilt burn her
You say the earth is mad.
My favorite iteration of God is 12-year-old GirlGod — God of watermelon bubblegum and Dr. Pepper LipSmackers. Of hologram stickers and locked diaries. GirlGod of 1994.
to that creek with the sluggish / brown water that swells up each / spring and recedes as if sipped / from old bags of toilet wine God / won't find you in the cornfields
sing, the guttural & saccharine / taxonomy of shame: what want demands / the body forgives
his gun // memory of steel bars // the plea // his gun // her self-defense // his reaction // her end // his gun // any being cornered will fight back // & her teeth already dull from repeated use
the world works in broken & imperfect circles like arms hugging a baby’s toothless smile the way a dog spins around & around before sleeping the word moon sung by nick drake the soft & rounded edges of the adobe home
Returning the whale was soso still It did not complain when I crawled inside with my one can and my no candle The mouth the humid mouth was like a tunnel of warm sponge I thought A whale is smaller from the inside I thought This is what my heart would look like from the middle
The body is gone. / But the shape of gravity is known. We carry her, / like a folded jacket of spirit, laying in our arms.
You learned to spill by breathing out / make room for the warm marrow / that gives this pot its power
She was the only person who left me a note about what type of tree she is—which by the way is a magnolia. (Ask her why.)
Red-faced and enraged, I bite into / red strawberries, my face blooming / red. I read red words in a book my father / read. All of the pages are red. All of the words a- / re distractingly read.
the priest speaks of my parents in many ways; though the undertaker speaks in one.
everywhere I look, I see eruption. A startle / of ice cracks off a branch above my head. / A local dog goes from saunter to sprint / at the sight of a squirrel.
After our discussion of childhood traumas, once / we’ve revisited a town in this valley named / Yettem (Armenian for Eden), you press your back against my chest.
The telephone is ringing and the dead on Everest answer: “I am so cold—please don’t cry. Everything will be fine.”
down the throat spill into the hungry stomachs of youth. / blue recycle bins knock over. an attempt to survive this / summer means every black body for itself.
the wife folds her arthritic body onto a shelf, a raccoon / squeezing her backfat thin as water only flexible bones / and silt filling her jello mold of pleated skin
I imagine a glitch: corroded wires, infinite loops of fritz-stuttered signals declaring that every day is August 5th, so every day the machine sings, celebrates itself alone
Backs of knees are pornographic. But openly hairier. My alien agrees with me. Or, at least, its sequins flash an affirmative when prompted.
In life, we are playing with dangerous games: you, the witness of the visiting vatnajökull now blushing pink in the atom sky with the bright comedy of Frigg fooling the ashes of the colour, and I, making a cryogenic favour to the moonless nights
In December of 2015, a giant squid swam into Toyama Bay in Japan. A local dive shop owner guided the squid back out to the ocean. The squid clung to the diver’s body using its legs' suckers. Later, the diver said the squid was “unexpectedly beautiful, its body glowing red.”
After midnight I see it coming: a finale marked in gravel and salt. I / come down for sinner’s stripes, wear these clothes like queens do, / take the stairs slowly, out of the flood and into blue. This is what / the sun is for; still in the night I collect stars and I collect bees and I / keep them in mason jars, like little yellow dreams, my magic.
I wish I could paint you red, and fuse your four fingers together, on each hand leaving only the thumb free.
It’s aflame with corpses. We live in the past. / Every dead star still burning in our eyes.
Before the hurricane, we had a rosebush. An avocado tree. Limes. The backyard, where we hid plastic Easter eggs, buried the bones of small pets.
auditory and visual hallucinations, she explains casually, as if describing the weather of California in July.
The tapestry must be frailed if it is to survive, flipped over
On those childhood Sunday mornings we used to watch the Orions take flight from the naval air base.
they pull out the woman / through her gut: think of the space now, / open studio with white walls, / dust like milkweed drifting
A diving bird, the pink duck returns for its things. What things? Whatever we took that made it dip its pink head under the waters, not to reappear. Its iridescent beetles, split-wings lifting in the air; its patch of jade grass; its water lilies; its tufted body, without the bullet’s path and tear.
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Once the whole is divided, the parts need names. / There are already enough names. –– Lao Tsu
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In the middle of surviving you, I sat on the sidewalk outside the bookshop that paid me too little, sterilized a safety pin with the flame of a lighter and stabbed it through my right big toe.
I can count the number of times we touched on two hands plus two feet, plus your hands and your feet.
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our wanderings conjure desire, the selfish kind—hunger to ask for more without bothering to hear the answer.
The Kids That Look Like Me Keep Dying Leaning bicycles on old iron fences. The kids grow out…
“If he says no, I’m dead.” Hard words from a hard man to the governor.
the fruit stains a woman’s fingers.
The diaspora of your voice is hatched from the space you refuse to continue drowning in
after Rufino Tamayo’s Hombre con pájaros, 1945 & Los astrόlogos de la vida, 1947
Tonight, we inhale combustion / quilted with orange residues / that leak from solitary bulbs.