Category Archives: Poetry

God Made

A woman’s body is not

A sacred temple

It is not a

Or a beautiful mountain range of curves

But it is God’s work

God made that body the way it is

And within that body God put

The woman

The Lord did not give that body

To a man

Because He made that body

For the woman

God made atoms, too

And God made acorns

And saplings

And trees

And cells

But He did not say that a tree and a sapling were the same

Nor a sapling and a tree

If a sapling were a tree

We Would Call It That

One cell, two cells,

Three cells, whose cells?

This bundle of atoms is Not A Baby

And the heart that beats

Beats with a woman’s blood

Not a child’s

Did you hear me?

Are we loud enough yet?

God’s breath is in our lungs

(Not our uterus)

God’s breath leaves no work undone.

Touch Land

When she walked into my life
She walked with purpose and poise
Her tongue was like a knife
And it cut through all the noise
Drowned out all the static
Took me up to the attic
And threw me out the window

I landed on a boat with a broken arm
She cut the grounding rope and said she’d do me no harm
Though I could hardly see the shore once were out at sea
I swore I saw my family, calling to me

I learned to be a sailor with a thicker skin
Who braved great storms and greater sin
But one thing I couldn’t drive from my head
Was that when I next touched land, I’d surely be dead

She held me on our ship so long I closed my eyes
And when I did, my whole life was my own design
In my head I couldn’t feel the chains on my wrists
Or the sting on my cheek where her fingernails hit

One day I closed my eyes so hard that I saw stars
And I saw a ship that was mine, not ours
So my heart told me that I should sail way up high
And in my very own ship, I reached the sky

The clouds are much more solid than they seem
And if you close your eyes too long, maybe it isn’t really a dream.


This is what it must feel like to be at peace
Washing dirt out from under my nails and
Wearing a sundress
Waiting patiently for seeds to sprout and
Watching the sky blur around me

Blinking in the spring heat, I think
That fall is loss
And winter is bitter
And summer is just plain chaos
But right now the world is coming to life around me
Not bursting
Not dragging
Just moving in step with the rest of the world for once

Spring is singing
And the rigidity of winter has ceased
My ears are ringing
But I think right now I’m at peace


Sometimes I feel like everything’s wrong
Like someone snuck into my house at night
And moved the couches one inch to the right
Or took the commas out of everything I write
Or put a minor greyscale filter on my sight
Sometimes I feel like my sense of direction is gone.

Other days, I wonder if I have a fever
Like I’m too cold, but my skin is too hot
And my head is buzzing with nonsense thoughts
Or my tendons might snap, they’re so taut
Or I look in the mirror and see someone I’m not
Other days, I wonder if I’m about to meet the reaper.

On good days, my mind is strangely clear
Like I can count past one hundred without stumbling
And a steady step will never send me tumbling
Or I can catch a ball without fumbling
Or remove a brick without the walls crumbling
On good days, I don’t feel underwater when I hear.

Every day, it’s a guessing game
Like Russian roulette in my brain
But I know that living tomorrow is the only way
To find out what the next day will be.

Sidney Times Two

I live two very different lives
Sunday through Wednesday
And Thursday through Saturday

I live my lives in two very different houses
And they look different, and they smell different
But I get to come home twice a week

I have three whole families
Two little ones and a big one
And all three are different shapes and sizes

I have two different schedules
And two different senses of humor
And two different personalities
And two different beds, and dressers, and toothbrushes

I have three families, two houses, and two very different lives
And I’m the luckiest person on Earth times two
Because some love might look and smell different
But it all feels the same.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Applause rings through the room like gunshots, ricocheting off of the invisible but indubitably solid walls, hitting arms and chests and heads. People scream, but they laugh, too, and there are even a few people crying. And nearly every person in the darkness, if they were asked, would say that they want to be there, and nearly every person in this room tonight is willing to become a liar. Behind every clap is a clap of proverbial thunder, and it’s common knowledge what accompanies thunder.
The applause dies down and the people are waiting,
Finally, the poet speaks, asks the question that they’ve all been dreading.
“Are we all having fun tonight?”
The people aren’t poets, and they can’t speak, so again, they scream and cry laugh and clap, clap, clap.
“Fantastic,” the voice is velvet rubbed the wrong way, scraping people’s ears.
“Alice,” Alice is the crier, somewhere near the back right corner,
“Dad’s not home,
But neither are you,
And you’re mom,
You’re made to live for two,
Dad tells you it’s your job,
Are you having fun tonight?”
Screams, laughter, gunshot applause, and wrenching sobs.
“Marty,” Marty’s laughing, but his tears look just like Alice’s,
“Your roommate’s dead,
You almost are, too,
And you can’t stop,
Your world is crushing you,
Trust me, you’re not on top,
Are you having fun tonight?”
Screams, wrenching sobs, gunshot applause, and hysterical laughter.
“Sophie,” Sophie screams,
“Your parents aren’t home,
They haven’t texted,
And they promised they would,
Especially when you get arrested,
You haven’t called them, you know you should,
Are you having fun tonight?”
Wrenching sobs, hysterical laughter, gunshot applause, and sickening screams.
“This cacophony of noise is agony by choice,
And you’re all cowards,” the poet’s mouth is too close to the microphone,
“Go home,
Or as close as you can get,
You’re like dogs with cones,
Like you’ve just been snipped.
I don’t recognize one face in this crowd,
Though, ladies and gentlemen, I can see in the dark.
You’re all too loud,
Too ready to spark,
Ladies and gentlemen,” the poet pauses, but nobody claps, there’s more, and the tension builds,
“Wake up.”

My House, Our Home

This house isn’t mine

And it hasn’t been for a long time

Even though I was so excited to move the couch over there

So that there was room for your armchair

And I was more than willing to start spilling my coffee every morning

Running into a brand new kitchen table

Because that table meant breakfast facing you

And the armchair is big enough for two

But now I’m wishing we’d fixed the window sill

Because the paint is chipping and the glass makes everything still

I was ready then to make my house ours

I was ready then, and I’m ready now

I’m ready to hear the scuff of your feet on the doormat

And I’m ready to see your smiling face doing just that

Every once in a while I’ll be sitting, or thinking, or walking

And I’ll pause because I think I hear you talking

So darling, I’m begging you, come down from there, come home

Because this house doesn’t fit just me, alone.

Nuestra Iglesia

Te conocí en la iglesia, en un domingo frío y seco. Tu nariz estaba rojo como tus labios, y seguro que la mía también. Cada abuelita de la ciudad estaba en esta iglesia, en este día, y quedaban dos asientos cuando llegué; preguntaba en mi cabeza qué habrías hecho para que las abuelitas dejarían los dos sitios a tus lados abiertos.
Paré al fondo de la iglesia por dos horas este domingo.
Que injusto.
Una de las abuelitas fue mi abuelita, por algún suerte, y no gasto tiempo después del servicio para susurrar:
“¿La ves? Su existencia es un pecado.”
No fue la primera vez que había escuchado estas palabras.
• • •
Les conté en un sábado, en la cocina, mirando una mosca en la mesa.
Nadie río, y nadie gritó, pero mi madre hizo el signo del cruz, y mi abuela susurró:
“Tu existencia es un pecado.”
No lo mencionamos.
• • •
En este domingo como hielo, quedábamos hablando afuera por dos horas. Me dolían las piernas, y me dolían las orejas, y me dolía la corazón.
Esta noche, me quedé despierta rezando hasta que me saludaba el sol.
• • •
Precisamente una semana después, me dolían las piernas otra vez, y en el bolsillo de mi abrigo escondió tu número de teléfono. Esta noche apagué mi teléfono, y me quedé despierto rezando hasta que brillaba el sol.
• • •
La mañana siguiente, a las ocho, pensé en tus labios, y en tu nariz, y te llamé.
Reír contigo es la toca de alas en mi estómago, y en este lunes, ya sabía que las alas que me tocaban pertenecían a un ángel.
Cuando colgué el teléfono, me dolía la garganta.
• • •
Hoy me duelen los pulmones, que luchan para respirar,
Porque estamos en nuestra iglesia, a punto de casar
Me funcionan de maravilla las piernas, y así seguiré
Porque no hay nada tan sagrado que el amor atado a la fe.


It’s fall, and I can’t feel it
How it hurts me just to say
Though I fear that hurt is not the word
I long to know even pain
It’s fall, and I can’t feel it
Or smell it, or want it to come
It’s fall, now more than ever, I wish that I were young

The crunch of leaves beneath bare feet at seven was so sweet
And the sting of a lingering bee was harsh enough to make me weep
But, oh, how nothing can compare
In this world so dull
To the scent that overtook the air
When came a blessed fall
Better than roses, or fruits, or the crook of my mother’s neck
The smell of decaying summer was an intoxicating scent

Well, summer’s come and gone this year
And fall is brewing rich
But I have yet to shed a tear
Or to be granted any wish

It’s fall, and I can’t feel it
Why must it be this way?
I wish for fall to be so fragrant
As I found it yesterday.

Fine Lungs

You’re chewing cake, Mama’s cake
But you’re chewing it too fast
Because you harbor the belief that this cake might be your last
And it was not about the air
You forgot about the air
You choke
There’s a sound deep in your throat
It’s an angry, ruthless cry
Why am I denied
A breath of hope and of air at the same time?

Already, it’s a long-forgotten cry
Because you’re choking
They aren’t joking
The taste of fudge-filled lungs feel greedy on your tongue
Look down
There’s the baby, on the floor
You tell him, you tell him
You tell him there’s no more
And you tell him why
And you calm him when he cries
What if he dies?
What if tomorrow he’s set to perish?
For the was nothing left to spare him
That boy’s got fine lungs
And you’ve got an ugly tongue
So you tell him
And tell me
And tell yourself, who won.