To get a feel for my work, here are a few poems that appear in my collection, Reticent.

 

Coccinellidae

I stare as you crawl along the shirt I tossed upon the bed that

morning, toothpick legs leaving an invisible trail of the potent

odor you emit like a skunk whenever my shadow falls across you.

 

This is not your house. Get out! I have catered to your needs

long enough. At first I was kind. I would return you to the

window whenever you wandered, coax you from the searing

 

embrace of the flower-shaped light near my bed. But it was

not long before I began to cringe at your presence. The way

you fluttered at the ceiling, bat out of hell. I stayed calm.

 

When you attacked I lost all coddling thoughts. You landed

on my cheek at midnight, intent on eating me, but the only

trace I could find of you on me was that ghastly smell. Now,

 

your corpses bob in the dirty dishes in my sink. You scuttle

along every wall, floor and ceiling, left and right. You are

even in my shoes, couch, and bed. You adorn my hair. I worry

 

that I will wake tomorrow and find you lining the inside of

my mouth, red inverted braces, sucking the soul from my body

with your needle feet. Next you will be in my food, and then

what will the difference be between me and you?

 

Fishing Lessons

I caught one, my sister says, reeling in the line. Her pole

curves toward the water, its spine arching like a frightened

cat’s. The handle is snug against her hip, and the weight of

her body rests solely on her haunches as she leans back,

mirroring the pole. The line sings, moving faster than the eye

can catch, and the smooth surface of the water breaks, spits

 

a bass out of its dark maw, spattering the deck with flecks of

water and blood. She swings her pole first right, then left,

displaying her catch. Mother digs in the tackle box for the

pliers while my older sister and I gather around the victor,

congratulating her on a job well done, when the bass lets

out a shudder, releasing a waterfall of embryos onto the deck.

 

My sister and I jump backward, unsure what is happening.

She’s just laid her eggs, says Mother. She thinks she’s going to die.

We push the eggs into the water with our flip-flopped feet,

being as gentle as we can. We know they will not survive.

Mother unhooks the hollowed fish, tossing it back to the

depths. It lands with a resounding splash, taking with it all

 

our oxygen. Hunched in our lawn chairs on the deck,

staring at the dark spots on the wood where the eggs had

been, we turn our collective gaze out over Douglas Lake

from the edge of our grandparent’s T-shaped dock.

 

Master of the Galaxy

A basketball player, tossing and spinning

the planets in the air, twirling, throwing them

above his head, behind his back. He rotates

one on a single finger, pulls it close and

slows it down for a

moment,

suspending time.

 

He smiles, runs a finger along one of the lines—

black ribbon racing across the world. He pulls back,

resumes his circus act,

spinning and tossing and twirling and risking it all—

a single ball,

sphere of orange and black.