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