These memories may thaw but
they refuse to melt away —
stubborn stains impervious to
my meticulous clawing.
Blankets and band-aids cover scars
but the scorn burns — contempt
for what was and won’t be.

We lack agency in our most
chilling moments, coughing
against whatever fate has consigned
to us (Did I cough when
you left? That particular
memory escapes me) futilely
clutching a blanket for warmth.

A catalyst

The flamboyant flame stands before me,
framed by garish smoke rising
to meet an aloof sky. The crackling embers —
embarrassed to be seen laying down
on the job — pop out of sight,
making way for flashier lights.

The bonfire demands to be seen, illuminating
places undiscovered, too dark to survey.
Is it possible my caustic humor burns
those who venture too close? Do I dare
take stock of myself now — already gray —
biding time ’til I pop where I lay?

Perhaps, as winds breathe smoke
unexpectedly back in our faces,
I merely shift my perspective.
There’s magic in turning sticks into wands

Nightmare flower

There’s not enough coffee in the pantry
to poison the nightmare flower
growing inside my mind this Monday morning –
a menacing thought blooming in shadows.

What phantoms creep in darkness,
wakeful vigils watching
through keyholes while moonless skies sway
then give way
to the quiet sun cheering for someone to hear?

The sun is too loud.

She dropped the seeds in my ear while I was sleeping
then evaporated, leaving me
a farmer diluted, hosing my brain with
caffeine while my wetter winks paint sorrow
in neat rows not yet tilled.

What blossom sprouts in dejection,
rotten and unwanted
I sit wishing the sun would retreat or retract
or simply retrace its steps in reverse?

Serenity now?

We are all connected. The woman
in line at the grocery store
too tired to say no to one more question.
The young man scanning the Skittles
his arm a pendulum absentmindedly marking
time. And me at attention
with the world while my phone
shows zero bars and I long to march on.

We all crave serenity. The woman
thinking of a euphoric cacophony of silence
that a mouthful of candy may bring.
The young man clocked out and finding
ecstasy absent the din of beeps, glorying
in his moment. And me raptured
from this world and returned home
where my wifi vigorously absolves me.

Should I even get out of bed?

I woke up early today, sitting in bed
not sure if I should get up
or roll under my bed and hide
from the black – dark that tastes bitter
like dry arugula stuck in my teeth.

The silence is numbing and scrapes
inside my head, nails scratching
a blackboard with rambling scribblings
pushing me in spirals. Sometimes
the world hops out of view.

What is life, if there is no afterlife?
A prefix for nothing, a start missing
an ending, a fire extinguished
eventually. What is life without a spark
divine or otherwise brightening dark?

We live, we love, we work, we die,
circles overlapping as we mark time
like fireflies enjoying the dusk aware
that night must inexorably snuff
the light we flash for as long as we can.

I swing my feet to the floor, facing the day
or whatever may barrel headfirst
before night, realizing life isn’t meaningless
for those we share meaning with, more lamps
to illuminate even the largest room.

On the clock’s face

The hands on the clock
slowly orbit the pale, dull face,
seemingly unaware

that the snow brought
a chill (or
at least a hint.)

The sun almost
shone as babies blinked,
staring at nothing

a general malaise that
lay beneath bubbles and
banana pudding breath.

snow covers the grass

a cold chill echoes through
the last

of a winter storm that turned whatever
we had planned black and cold,


Depression cries out
through the seemingly endless black
(where noise blinds us,

not so long ago
this all made sense).

Amid the senselessness
of another terrifying flash
of lightning –
of the fury

that flares for an instant
then recedes

to background noise – we
find solitude, short

of understanding.

Reflections upon death

Is that really my face, framedby white hair like a cabinstanding alone in the too-earlywinter snow, lazily gazing back at me in the old mirror?My grandmother’s old mirror, lined with old photos of people now dead,frozen in black and white eternitywhere they face no end norremember any beginning. Pictures remain, moments, faces without context, smilingContinue reading “Reflections upon death”