She liked to think that she was more refined

Than she once was

Less trusting but more kind

Not a lost cause

Maybe she was right

Maybe she knew herself

Or perhaps not


It’s not a lie, really, truly

Her brain has just become a bit…unruly

She’s lost track of some things

Unimportant things, just bites and stings


Until the police come with a warrant

and she can’t quite recall why

Until a man in a suit is asking why they had to die


It’s taxing!

Oh, the sweat under threat

Under heat for a crime she had



‘Twas another

A sister or brother, lost among the mess that she’d replaced


She liked to think she was more refined

Standing in line to get her meal

She liked to think she was getting neater

Curled against the rattling heater

Gripped by the chill of the fever preceding death.

A Moment Too Soon

You will be gone in a moment.
Let me clarify, you could be gone in one year, one week, one day, one minute. You’ll be gone in a moment. Every second that I spend with you, your smile, and your eyes is gone in a flash.
Gone, gone. Gone too fast.
So I could spend the rest of my life with you. (And I certainly hope I do)
But you’ll still be gone a moment too soon.

The Puppeteer

The Puppeteer

He was nothing more than a puppet. A marionette, strings pulled by the merciless hands of his years. But what a puppet he was! Oh, how elegantly his false arms and legs and body swept across the stage. Meanwhile, in the audience, a lady. She was anything but a puppet. Beyond undeniably breathtaking beauty, behind the scenes…another world.

The puppet stared at her with unseeing eyes, oblivious to everything that took place behind her fair skin and her dark hair. What a puppet he was, filled with desire as his part commanded.

Eric’s pace quickened to catch up with his prey – not prey? – on her slender legs. The skin of her wrist was warm and soft, and as creamy as it looked. His hand were soft, as well. A prince, he was. A prince did not callus his skin.

Desire, sang the puppeteer, desire.

“Do pardon me, ma’am, for intruding on your life. (But I should someday like for you to be my wife) But I’ve been halted by your allure.”

Aurora’s eyes flashed at the sudden approach, but her high cheekbones contradicted her. His eye were soft and brown, and as material as the gown she wore. Behind the scenes, a cart tipped. Wheat, good wheat, was strewn about the dirty lane of Tractus. A peasant parallel of Aurora turned and stared. That was the first time.


Later, all eyes are turned to them at the table. Eric’s mother, the queen, had demanded to see the thief who stole her son’s heart, – not heart? – and the queen always got what she wanted. A rumor had wormed its way into the queen’s mind. Aurora’s mother, at the passing of her beloved, had found herself with the blessing (Read: Curse) of wealth in a kingdom that crumbled as they ate.

“I know it’s rude, my dear, but I’m the queen, you see, and I just happened to hear a word. (Your family’s well-off. How absurd.) You have money, I see. Let’s discuss.”

In a cottage behind her eyes, a young boy writhed. His body was so painfully deprived. What a shame. The previous (Molasses) week, his father had dropped a cart of wheat.

The boy didn’t bother to close his eyes when he fell asleep. Aurora frowned from the street.

“Marry him! You’ll see what joy it brings you. (For the time until your fortune is consumed.) We welcome you to our family, Aurora. Forever.”
Aurora fought a tear for the boy on Tractus Lane, and fed hungry a woman an absent nod. That was the second time.

Then again, at the wedding, she left this world. She attended a funeral. Her white dress was gone. She did not long for it as she drowned in a sea of black. She watched a box lowered into the ground. When she turned her gaze to the sky, and saw nothing but earth. To her left: a box of mistakes, and to her right, an empty box. Her wrists burned as the puppeteer tied the strings.


The Almighty Crash and Tumble

Your smile, submissive, is evergreen

or so I thought

An evergreen can’t stay green when they

Chop down the tree

Your smile, your eyes, your skin

The entire ensemble

Brought down

The almighty crash and tumble

Your smile, shy, is fading

And the words die on my lips

An inky spill cascading

To kiss your fingertips

Your smile, gone, is painful

Your eyes and skin have parted

It’s not your fault you left me



File Room

Here lies a folder
Standard in appearance
But it weighs like a boulder
And the inside isn’t coherent

It’s written in code
I catch some words–snow?
You could read it, it appears
Were you here

You aren’t here, you haven’t been
Not for a while
And now I have seen
The folder’s one of a pile
A collection, a hoard
Written down on a board
At the back of this room of unshakeable gloom
It’s addressed to you
That’s your name, I know
It’s one of the few
Those few seem to glow

They stand out from the crowd, with deliberate makes
Whoever held the chalk pressed hard, letters dark
It’s unfortunate, I guess
To stand out from the rest
At least to me, in this room, it seems
I can tell that your folder weighs more than the others
The cover’s not pressed, it’s cracked, wrinkled, weathered
But perhaps I was wrong when I judged good or bad
When I touch these pages, I cannot be sad, or mad, feel bad
They’re soft, fine, expensive, the paper is warm
It’s warm though it’s worn, and folded, and torn

I see now what’s in this folder
This not-standard folder
That weighs like a boulder

I think I’ll stay in this room for a while
I feel that there’s more to read in the pile.


Eyes like the skies
Like moonlit pools, so bright they can blind
Her skin is like her hair
Soft, pale, and fair
Her beauty and rare, and she knows it
They know she knows
He knows she knows
And when he knows she knows, he won’t let her get close
“Why don’t they like me?”
That she can’t see

A hand taps her shoulder, she looks about
There’s a shadow of a figure in the corner of her bedroom
“My name’s Doubt, who are you?”
She introduces herself with the trace of a grin
But later, there’s a prickling under her skin
She gets up to look, and rubs at the mirror
Shouldn’t the picture be a bit clearer?
Maybe she hasn’t seen her face for too long
It looks wrong
Something’s wrong
She turns away from the mirror with the trace of a grimace
No matter how hard she tries
Squints at her image
She sees no moonlit pools, no skies
Her skin is too pale, her hair is too shiny
Her mouth is too big, her nose is too tiny
She sits on her bed and thinks for a while
Tries to remember the feel of a smile
Doubt must know, with that grin on her face
That kind when you taste a familiar taste
That kind of laugh when someone else falls
It’s gleeful, and pleased, and a tiny bit cruel

So she sits and she thinks
And she thinks
And she thinks
There are words on her tongue, she’s on the brink
She never speaks, though
She never said
Doubt deals the next blow
She can’t lift her head
Her chin is weighed down
By the heavy frown

…but what’s that glimmer?
A gemstone?
It’s a crown
A queen’s crown
Atop her head
It’s crafted from words that a stranger said

Doubt’s smile disappears
The grin falls down from the tips of her ears
A pile on the floor
Doubt fought with words, and lost the war
Dusty and fine
She steps on that pile time after time.

Day. Month. Year.

Do you ever feel like you’re plucking words from the air?
Like it’s thick with them
You know that they’re there!
So you stick with them

But sometimes the words that you pluck don’t match
So you set them free
Release the catch
Then hours later, standing below a tree
Suddenly the air is full of visible poetry!
You see the match that you missed before
Your mind is full of rhyme and rhythm galore!

Oh, the beauty of those poetic days
Too bad that they’re rare, and they come with a haze
The haze lasts for days
Right after the peak
And out, out, out, those words leak
Little by little, those poems disappear
Until you’re left with one, for that day. Month. Year

Your Slice

There’s agony in my eye
Tonight I watched a friend die
Not her body, just her soul
I only wanted to be whole

Meanwhile, you smile
Somewhere around the world
Across of an expanse of miles
While the basis of her brain unfurled

The tightly wound wires tucked neatly in her head
Unravelled by the final straw, something that I said
Is it right to call her friend, in this quietly catastrophic end?
Through the waters of grief pooling at my toes
Pouring down my cheeks, past my lips and my nose

My slice of the world is crumbling
Your slice remains untouched
In mine the sky comes tumbling
It doesn’t affect yours much

How is it that when I placed the straw, and the walls came crashing down
In your slice across the world, you hardly heard a sound?

Rainy Sky Eyes

I stare at the smoldering remnants of the bakery, a mixture of sorrow and wonder swirling through my head.
Why? Who would find the spite in their heart to ignite what is, by extension, the food on my table and the clothes on my back? Granted, the building is insured, but it’s still distressing. My eyes scan the crowd, looking each of those people right in the face. They’re sad, sure, but it doesn’t cut them to the core like it does me, my family. I feel that cut widening, and slimy goop inside of me oozes out, into the grimy street. It splatters in time with the water from the fire hoses.
“You okay, Parker?” Dad wraps a solid arm around my shoulder, squeezing tightly so that I can’t tell he’s shaking. I can tell.
“I’m okay, dad,” I stare down at my insides on the ground, the ones that dad doesn’t see, “are you okay?”
Guilt flashes in his rushing river eyes, the way it always does when he lies, “I’m okay.”
Dad definitely isn’t okay. He poured his whole life into that bakery, including his heart and soul. I’m pretty sure that insurance won’t cover that.
He steps with his feet all evening. I don’t know what he used to step with, but it sure wasn’t those.
I kiss him goodnight on his scratchy cheek, and then retreat to my bedroom, but I have no intention of sleeping – How could I? I tie my thick amber hair back into a braid, pull on dark jeans, black high-tops, and a black sweater, and then press my ear against my door. As expected, dad’s loud snoring is audible from his bedroom. I stare in the mirror, right into my own rushing river eyes, straighten my sweater, and then turn away.
The police, the fireman, they’ve hauled away all of the evidence, but maybe, just maybe, I’ll find dad’s heart and soul. Then, before I can change my mind, I climb out the window. The bakery’s a five minute walk, silent, save for the crunching of feet on asphalt and my thoughts.
What am I trying to accomplish? As poetic as it is – and I am a poet – I know that I can’t find his literal heart as soul.
I almost turn back, but then, as I approach the bakery, something changes. A figure crouched in the rubble, with long black hair. She’s facing away from me until a stick pops under my foot, and she whirls around. I’m not sure what exactly it is in her blue sky eyes – the guilt, the regret, the pain – but I immediately know who she is.
“It’s okay, I’m not going to hurt you,” I assure her, and approach, stretching out a hand, “what’s your name?”
She tentatively reaches out to grasp my hand. Hers are papery and cold, smooth and creamy. Not the hands of an arsonist, I think.
“Aidan,” she supplies, and her voice is as delicate as her features.
I’m reminded of Snow White, “Hi, Aidan, I’m Parker, and you’re strange. I don’t think most arsonists return to the scene of the crime.”
Those sky eyes widen and she turns to run, but I still have her by the hand. When she finally stops struggling, I sit, dragging her down with me.
“You don’t get to go. Not until you explain,” her frightened eyes close momentarily, and she sits, nodding.
“Okay,” a strand of Aidan’s silky hair settles behind her ear, “It’s not a good explanation, though. Don’t expect anything.”
I nod, and she continues.
“Because I wanted to watch the world burn,” she says with finality, eyes cast downward.
I know now what I saw in her eyes; I saw poetry. Broken poetry, scrawled into her irises, twisted into the blood vessels.
“Wanted. Why past tense? What changed?” She looks at me, surprised.
“I thought I wanted to watch the world burn. But not anymore; Not after watching flames overtake this place,” she takes in a shaky lungful of air, “Because that’s what fire does, it spreads. I’ve been burnt, and the last thing that I need is revenge – I know that now. What I need is a cure.”
Her eyes aren’t full of fire, not like they must have been when she burnt down my second home. On the contrary, they’re watery.
Skies rain.
I wonder for a moment whether her tears could put out the fires that she started; whether they could wash away my insides from the pavement.
“You don’t need a cure,” I voice my earlier thoughts, “you could put out your fires with those tears.”
It’s poetic, it’s cheesy, and it’s not literal or logical. My dad would scoff, but I don’t care.
“Help people, Aidan. Don’t hurt them,” I advise, and then push off of the ground, dusting off my pants, “There’s a volunteer cleanup here tomorrow. Be there, if you can.”
When I’m home, I sleep, and I dream of Aidan’s rainy sky eyes.