Primary Nostalgia

daffodils float on the aching windowsill,
heavy footprints and soft skin
sink into floorboards and rickety stairs,
the oak and cedar sigh in the sun.

green eyes blend between the leaves. whispers
linger in the trees and hide behind
bitten branches. tiny toes slide through mud
and laughter hangs in the air for hours.

red-checked button ups sway on wires in the breeze,
surrounded by faded jeans and holey tshirts.
the missouri flows in the background
and summers submerge in the currents, drifting.

feathered wings soar in hot skies, chirping, landing
softly in the tangles of apple trees and
aching backyard patios. empty lawn
chairs groan with age – eight legs, unmoving.

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Merlot

I spilled red wine on the carpet –
a pool of honeyed maroon. My hand went limp.
I wake in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.

I fall asleep on the couch dreaming of your eyes,
swimming in those little flecks of jade and cool forest green.
I spilled red wine on the carpet.

I hang my harried heart on the clothesline in my backyard.
It dries up, unbeating, and floats away in the wind.
I wake in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.

I’m lost in the daytime: unfocused, blurred, colorless.
Evenings become stained lips and slippery fingers.
I spilled red wine on the carpet.

I drag my feet in the dirt road behind your apartment:
the sun sinks into the clouds, the sky turns grey. I turn grey.
I wake in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.

Your fingertips haunt the outlines of my face, leaving
crimson fog and ghosts on my cheekbones;
Again, I spilled red wine on the carpet.
Again, I awake in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.

Remorse

i watch the hills roll
and the sounds fade,
with your name spiraling
inside me;

you’ve left me here, like this,

with your eyes tracing my dreams
and words clouding my hands.

i hope, as i sit with your mind on mine,
that you remember the way
my hair smells in the rain,
and how my hands grazed the outline
of the stubble you refuse to shave.

because with every sip of coffee
i remember the taste of your lips
and the way you looked at me
when i smiled

The Stranger

 

like clouds, hot smoke
rises above the street.
he leans against the cracks
in the wall, his grey
eyes following the black
pavement where his shoes

meet the other shoe
prints. flickers of grey
light seep between cracks
in the dark black
alleyway. the street
crushes the smoke

from the end of his smoked
cigarette. the black
matches hidden in his shoe
light a new stick of grey.
a smile cracks
his face, the street

absorbs him. he sits in the street.
his fingers lock and crack.
pouring from his lips, the smoke
billows towards the grey
clouds. his eyes meet his shoes.
in the distance, black

steam rises, black
stacks that reach above the street,
above his shoes.
farther still, a smoked
crow flies into the grey
clouds. a heavy crack

goes through the sky, cracks
of light hit the sky, rain scatters the street,
leaving his aged shoes
soaked through. his grey
eyes meet the sky and go black
from the smoke.

he rises. his shoes hit the cracks
in the dying street made grey
from the smoke; the clouds of black.

Aurora

i am the dream,
with heavy eyelids and soft fingertips
that haunt the curves of my face.
two decades of sun
lie in the golden wisps
that fall onto my feathered pillow.
my blushed cheeks and frozen features
frame days of fairies and springtime,
a pastoral haze of pinked flowers, blued skies:
lost in mistakes.

my soul follows the horizon,
split by unmovable mountains
and setting suns,
later spotted with the stars
that illuminate even the
darkest creases of my mind.
no window can catch sight
of what lies in my nettled psyche –
i am cursed,

but with this dream,
i will kiss my own palms
and divide my own darkness.

Translation

lost in a mist of intuition.
sour berries disguised by smells sweet,
the sky is falling in:
i brush the horror from my face
with pressed powder.
hollow skeletons dance among fleshy hearts,
empty bones rattle in the wind.
whispers catching in the breeze,
haunting my eardrums, marooning my gaze,
enveloping vivid memory.
the salts of eyes lick at my wounds,
watering the bouquet of scars found
deep within chicken-scratched journals.

Warmth

sweet smells of morning
rise, up the living room stairs.
father’s laughter
booming below,
among the pitter-patter of
brother’s socks; mother’s slippers.

i skim down stairs:
into the sun’s eyes.
the windowpane reflects.

the kitchen table:
stained with memory,
resting on the floors
that raised me.

across the room:
the same couch
that soaked amateur tears
and eased restless teenage minds.

behind bedroom doors:
my mother’s sewing machine,
that stitched my torn ideas of love
and made pillowcases of forgiveness;
my father’s wallet,
stashing photos
of memories, sunny days.

the hall closet:
containing dolls with knotted hair,
and building blocks
the size of my brother’s dreams.

this is what it feels like:
to be in love.
with a place.
a time.
an idea.

 

Hearth

Her palms drag through the cold,
two winters embed in smooth skin.
Oak. Umber. Sepia.
The day’s rain haunts fingertips.
Strands of roots replace the memory of
old, easy days; restore hollow impressions.
His charcoaled stones left behind,
found lodged in shoes, sinking between
cracks. The ripples of his footprints stain
mossy rugs and rickety floorboards:
smudging half-hearted attempts at
steadiness. Her hands, muddied by
yesterdays, ease towards
the bathroom sink: lavender soap.