median (n).

0a9313252a035e28f0e241134370e919.jpg

I know exactly what to do
with a broken heart
and a soaring one

I know exactly how to be
in the depths
and on the mountains

but I don’t know this place
the humdrum normalcy
that we’re supposed to crave (?)

the balance and the boredom
the orderly and the ordinary

I only ever know
how to place myself
when my insides feel
like a hurricane.

revert (v).

light.jpg

I think I thought I made
sense of it at the time,
and then I read it back
and it was in a voice 
that wasn’t my own. 

I think I thought I threw
it far enough away
that it wouldn’t come back
like the dog tracing his old walks
back to the porch on which
he takes his second afternoon nap.

I think I felt I found 
a way to explain it away,
and neatly,
the rehearsed speech
that tumbles like velvet,
it’sallforareasonandhowareyou

burrow (v).

neck.jpg

I don’t know any other way to love but
to go all the way into the depths of you,
into the caverns and past the barricades,
to dig for the place you keep
your sadnesses and your fluorescent dreams,
to turn the lights on at all hours
to find the bottom of your longing
and the corners of your disappointments.

I will burrow my love, blunt and abrasive
like I do with my limbs around your torso
at night when we sleep.

[Photo by Gillian Stevens]

absence (n).

chair.jpg

I have been filled with
the kind of ringing silence
that makes your head split
and heart ache.

Didn’t songs used to play here?
Wouldn’t I chatter to myself?
Wasn’t there a story about that?


Wasn’t there
at least the rustling
of the wind from the window,
at least the exhale
from my sleeping love
on my warm neck,
at least the quiet hum
that comes with
the world waking?

scour (v).

pink.jpg

When you’re having trouble
finding the beauty in the place you are in,
search for it in the corners and cracks
like you would a ring that
slipped off your finger; 

run your hands along the carpet,
close your eyes and picture
where you were when
you last saw it, 

leave nothing unturned, and
lay on the floor if you must;

there are flecks of gold
hiding everywhere
if you settle yourself enough
to find it.

origin (n).

cabin.jpg

Who made the stars and how
do they swing in the way they do,
soft and singing, spelling out
the mysteries that wrote us
into existing?  

You read aloud the story
and I’ve heard it before,
the one about the maker
and his garden
and the world he made up
to make himself a home.

[Photo by Jeff Spackman]

cite (v).

doors.jpg

These are the landmarks
that mark time while I’m waiting
for the words to come:

I read this and that, I worry
I make a cup of tea
I go out
I try to sleep

I go back to the place
I was when I was
able to say
how I felt

I shut it out
and shut it down

I talk about small things
I try
I breathe through the ache
I clear my throat
I walk down to the water

I make a list
(like this list) 

I look about
I look away
I look ahead 

I tell myself
the things you say
when something’s lost.

kept (adj).

bee59ade078ddd08215698734a4722db.jpg

Do you love me yet or
have I let you? You keep
arriving to me, calling me back
from the muddy sea where
my mind has stayed.  

Do you love me yet or
have I let you? I keep
myself tucked away, hidden
in a half state, and half-
light, for fear you might
flinch with all of this
softness in the morning sun.

Do you love me yet or
have I let you? You keep
recounting your contentment
and I keep
finding ways to
fold myself away
like sheets folded
in a bulky chest.

timbre (n).

c4600104dd40872906f557edcd69a4b7.jpg

In case you wondered, I do
say your name
in the sinking midnight
in the hurry of my morning
in the moments I am busy being happy
in the holy and the hollow
in the eyes of strangers
in the triumph of who I am becoming
in the quiet coffee shop corners
and into the peel of my old fashioned,
on the off chance
you can hear me say it.

vocation (n).

As I sit here, floundering, since, oh,
these are just words, and I am just
a girl who is tired often, and
what even is important,

there are birds, meanwhile
singing,
no bigger than
the palm of my hand,
concerned not with audience or reach,
concerned not with chorus or choir,
concerned only
with the song that swells
and the note that comes next.  

Posted on February 11, 2019 and filed under the word project-.

dispatch (n).

24ceedb765bf3f5abccbbd8bba2f51f5.jpg

I was envisioning sending out
a grand report of this glittery
new life I am supposed to be living but
everything has been quite prickly, like a
cranky wool sweater; I haven’t known
what to say. How do I tell you about
this city that smells like eucalyptus and
the lump in my throat that hasn’t
yet gone away, the people and their
heads full of codes and connections who
take scooters to work, the thrill of skipping
winter entirely, the growing list
of all the things I don’t know, and
the moments I catch myself thinking: when
is it going to start? And then
I have to point out: this is me, living.

How do I tell you about all of the questioning
and all of the awareness and
all of the unknowns that come with
trying to figure out how much the bus costs or where
to buy a decent sandwich, not to mention
all of the questioning and
all of the awareness and all
of the unknowns like why
did I come here and what
am I to do?