my creative spirit
is a blue whale, I think
she swims in deep waters
but we breathe the same air
and, like other blue whales,
she has the loudest, strongest voice on earth
which is fortunate (thank the earth)
because if there is a second voice
she’s a howler monkey—
loud, too, and rather obnoxious
that’s perfection, the crank upstairs
I’ve tried to evict, but she just won’t leave
she runs a lighthouse
illuminating the goal but not the path
through dark, choppy waters
to where I aim but never land
always at sea
(thank the stars) my spirit is part whale and I can dwell among those who don’t reach
all the shining high lights
or the shores they seek
despite all that double-edged help from howler monkeys in lighthouses
(thank the sea)
I breathe just fine down here.
(“The Blue Whale” first appeared in Dear Damsels.)
Each god, he weakens your knees
but flees from trouble.
Anchor him to an altar.
Anchor him to your own church.
In a thicket of embraces
enough to clip women in half,
you will have to be killing-strong.
Widow, rise up.
Rip into the world with your teeth.
You are the revenant,
the heart that remains.
Clench every unpredictable beat.
You are a survivor with limited rations, not enough left to keep blind rule-following alive— hard choices to be made.
First, start the bonfire with your rage, incinerating the old life.
Find a way to make peace
enough with the world to stay in it,
to make room for yourself—and others.
Build a new house; shelter us.
Pierce the sky with your steeple
and throw open the doors.
“To the Bride” first appeared in Slide a Mirror to Me (Transcendent Zero Press, 2017).
I wish for endings
like tied shoe strings.
I seek finishing
like stains on cut tree limbs,
glossy in death
and dining-room tables.
I hunger for a last supper
of salted tears.
I dream of a wake
with super-glued caskets
and a heart that masks
its cracks and breaks
like me and you—
(A previous version of this poem appeared in Star*Line as “The Jinni’s Wish.”)