My grandfather once told me our lives are like a dot, a dash, and a dot. ".__." typed or written to paper it looks kinda funny, but the meaning is much more somber. The first dot represents our birth, the dash represents our lives, the final period being the end of the line; death. My grandfather is nearing the final dot, that dumb dot that will take him away from us; steal him from his loving family that so desperately wishes his anecdotes, stories, toe popping, and tickle attacks would never end. But for some reason that dot doesn't care, it takes and it takes and it takes, with no regard to anyone or anything. This gluttonous dot doesn't care that those nearing his lair can feel it in their bones, that their loved ones can see the strain his pull exerts on their souls.
I hope one day you can scream to your favorite song on the car radio at way-too-early in the morning as you learn to live for the first time.
america spat on me last weekend
my seventh-grade classmate slapped me with the back of her hand, inked in slurs
and i stood there and let the words become an iron brand on my cheek.
she spits into my food: “sorry to ruin your lunch—wouldn’t want to ruin the taste of dog.”
the words on my face burn hot. i don’t move to rub them away.
i bet your parents came to america to work in a california nail salon. i bet they probably cleaned my grandaddy’s toes.
actually, my mom arrived in ellis island, and she waved at lady liberty, and i bet she didn’t know that lady liberty’s a filthy snake and a liar
i bet your parents are proud that this great country even allowed them in
yeah, i bet they are. i bet it’s everything my dad imagined when he starved, drifting in the pacific and i bet he really liked being called a yellow gangster and i bet he felt real welcome when he wasn’t allowed in some restaurants and i bet it was way better than his family’s life being threatened by some men in red uniforms back home.
i wore a face mask in public last weekend and a man told me to bring the chinese disease back to where i came from. i wondered if i forgot to wash off “alien” from my forehead that morning
he spat on me, so i used his spit to rub his slurs off my cheek
he ended up breaking my nose, and i heard the noise of my bones snapping, and it sounded like: “chink, chink.”
well, i mean, america spits on people like me and
america spits on people who don’t really behave all that right
and america kinda spits on everything that makes it scared but
i think you know that. i hope you know that.
but it’s just, selfishly, all i can think about is me, and that
america spat on me last weekend. and i don’t really think i liked it all that much.
The Scars We Bare
When the Day
in Evening’s gown
with starlight sequins,
counts ’20 down,
The Milky Way,
Eve’s spiral sash,
each aster spoke
the ember tales
dons her mask:
in disguise —
she, witness to
an empty page;
turn yesterday —
a (f)errous age
They said back at the beginning, either you come out of this knowing how to make a sourdough starter or you develop a drinking problem.
Ariana doesn’t particularly care for bread, or the solitude and desperation that might lead you to make it.
Instead, she finds herself in January 2021, making eggs for dinner. This happens to be the only skill she picked up during quarantine, and when paired with tortillas, happens to complement tequila quite nicely. The tortillas, she doesn’t remind herself, are not bread or homemade.
Ariana tries to crack an egg onto the edge of the pan but instead misses, and egg lands all over the top of the stove.
She laughs and it brings her roommate into the kitchen. Her laugh is not a happy laugh; it is bitter and tasteless, and she wonders if she’s crazy. She wonders if the last ten months have led her to insanity, or a lesser, sadder version of it. She wonders if any of this has occurred to her roommate, the only living soul to have seen her during this time of total seclusion, this slow descent leading to a stovetop mishap and graceless sarcasm.
“Are you okay?”
“Am I… okay?”
Ariana makes a hand gesture, the one where you make quotation marks with your fingers.
She doesn’t remember much after that, but she does remember the touch of her roommate as he tucked her in. Touch she hasn’t felt in months. Touch she doesn’t know how to respond to. What a feeling, to know it still exists.
“It will get easier.”
She still doesn’t know how to make that sourdough starter, but there’s still time.
The Perfect Murder
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I comb with needles of words
I float out with the breath of morning
I sit up high on Empire State Building
High heel pointed
Like a dagger
Freeing the wind as its tail is sunk
In mudgrass and I run,
Shoes disappearing as the
This is before trees fall upon pages
And mute the birds
But the ground was never rooted
And the sky could
Die with liveliness
Rats with wings
Come back to consciousness
The young flower girl at her wedding
Burning with your coin cough
Water calling in the sirens as you blacked out
Bagboys murdered birds enough
For old trees to growl about
Seek out fragrant ashtrays
Cast fake blood on the snow
Pack poor women betrayed
By the letter O into jars of the bungalow
Dying bodies left in the rain haunt you to surrender
Yourself to start over
Antlers of war
Like fashion models
For brief camera clicks
Fighting for attention
Fighting for success
Skin leaving to bare
Blood rolling out for their
Call it quits will you
Peace love & happiness
Just start talking
Bow out humbly
As long as the gazes of people
And the snaps of cameras continue
Posing is still a running business
White sunlight casts upon closed lids
a fi'ry sunset glow,
as 'neath me fledgling grasses chill-
a paradox bestowed.
Ripe lilac breezes punctuate
the pressing troposphere,
plush purple wisps that twist and skate
through winter-ravaged nares.
Stout aster stems doth hold aloft
with velvet tongues that seek the gloss
of nectar's sticky prize.
The plodding drone of laden bees
augments the brook's frore flux-
a limpid backyard symphony
'pon which my pith can sup.