24 December 2009

a locust in winter

she gave birth to new thoughts
under the restless northern lights,

each shift of shape and color
spelling the names of other places
and affirmations.

she moves

climbs from peak to peak
to follow the moon across the sky.

she hides fallen stars
and promises
in silver sleigh bells
and plants them in the snow

something might come of this
in the spring.

she moves


tiptoe-ing across tightropes
pulled tensely between treetops
in pursuit of the magpie
with citrine eyes.

the scent of morning
falls on four-leaf clovers

she moves

beyond herself
to return to her self

with new thoughts.

21 December 2009

no.7 from displaced

lying in the light of christmas

somewhere in between
home and place

i squint to see
the constellations wrap the fir
and wait for shooting stars
to carry me back to myself

when i didn't offer gifts
to closed hands
turned backs
deaf ears

when i moved like a woman
spoke like a woman
thought like a woman

before i lost myself to you
and you also

just briefly
but long enough

so i reach for the next branch
and search the surface of old ornaments
to find a reflection of myself

press it against my chest
beneath a new wall made of eggshells
and thin ice

and move forward

toward a new light.

15 December 2009

7:52 am

i woke up inside my head
this morning

a beautiful nightmare

full of doubt and delusion

but i floated inside
and shoved each letter of thought
through small vents in my skin

i caught them with my tongue
and spoke them into small jars
that i hid underneath my bed

a bittersweet lullaby.

09 December 2009

auspicious for a girl

reeling through an endless fall,
she touches the sky
and two worlds collide.

every drop of flame
lights a candle
in memory of the one
who lived inside her skin.

the fire dies on its own
leaving her to herself
but not exactly alone.

the moon is hers

but stars turn to dust
and leave no trace
of grace

just a shadow on the sun.

the fragile waves of days
break against the shore
and it's nobody's fault
but her own.

she's not lost
just wandering.

and she knows today might be
the most perfect day she's ever seen.

pale as a pile of bones
she speaks his name out loud
and wonders when he will bring the rain back
to her.

she thinks,
if the best is for the best
then the best is unkind.

she waits until morning
to wake him

and sings:

dos gardenias para tí
con ellas quiero decir:
te quiero, te adoro, mi vida.
ponle toda tu atención
porque son tu corazón y el mío.

29 November 2009

my sunday

I followed a familiar path
and looked for signs of you

even though I wasn't really sure
that I even wanted to find you.

I moved alongside your footprints,
stepped in and out of your shadow,

but I found my way without you,
glancing back only to watch
the sun glow between strands of curls.

And I climbed rocks and
stood tall on boulders,

and not once did I reach for your hand.

I found my way to the edge
without you.

Facing this space that holds eternity,
I stretch out my hand to grab onto
something more.

I try to whisper to myself,
but the wind steals my words.

I sit

and I wait
for this moment to pass.

18 November 2009

a better place

I step out of my shoes
to meet the ground,
sink to the bottom of lakes
to listen to the quiet

because I need to remind myself.

Tucked into the creases of paper airplanes,
I send my thoughts elsewhere
and sit silently

and unmoving

with the space between

because I need to remind myself.

The air around me stretches and widens
until the moon meets the sun,
and I hold my own hand,

and I remember now

because I need to remind myself.

17 November 2009


looking for arms to fall into,
my chest swells to exhale
the scent of my mother's perfume.

estee lauder waves away the alone
and recites the insides of greeting cards
with bent corners and bible verses.

the smell cloaks me in crocheted afghans
and lifts the heavy curls away from my brow
wrinkled with thought.

it speaks to me
with the rise and fall of her concerns

until my shoulders sink under its weight.

13 November 2009

things that made me happy today

sunshine through the car visor

small voices calling my name

new friends and pillow talk

fake blue fingernail in the hallway

letting go.

11 November 2009

leaving st. augustine

waiting for a fortunate accident



it is autumn now,
and the leaves have parted ways with the branches to expose
your absence.

i dig,
knuckles and nose turning red under a canopy of cold rain,
to release your roots from the soil we once

little wings take flight
at the shake of their perch,
this uprooted skeleton of you.

and with them i send all of my doubt
and lift my chin toward the kindness of memories.

i reach under my skin to find
the pulse of a new affection,

i wrap it in words of other women
and plant it under the strength of my bare feet.

i can still hear its whisper
as i walk away.

07 November 2009

7 year itch

I wanted to hear you say it,

And you had already told me in
so many ways
Even though you were too weak to
open your mouth.

I have to squint to see the man you once were
to me.

What are you holding on to anyway?

I would assume your arms are growing tired of
holding me at
arm's length.

Let go of my hand,
it's no longer your own,

And when you close your eyes now,
you'll have to dream alone.

Release the space between us
like a black dove that will not

It will all work out in the end, they say,
it will all work out
in the end.

18 June 2009

to Will Clendening

[i have only now been able to post this. i wrote this three years ago after the death of a very dear friend. june 3rd marked the third year of his loss.]

smell of fresh rain and wet concrete

the leaves moved to applaud
relief from heat

tiny drops tapped
the napes of necks
bent in grief

tears turn to mist
to form a fog of you
bound by disbelief


but we planted a tree for you

and you painted the sky
your shade of blue
and a warm orange

i hope to make apple pies
in your memory.

while i was smoking

i watched the slow death of an earthworm

writhing under the
of a robin's beak

ugly bird

feathers faded from the days,
you look like death

i don't like you, bird.

31 May 2009

mississippi heat


just the sound of ceiling fans
moving cool air over
sweat and skin,

reminds me of summer naps
at Mamaw's house.

heavy with heat
trace the creased bindings
of old paperback novels.

idle breaths
breathe in the smell of old things
and dust
and tiny tin cans of snuff.


just the sound of sleep
weighing lifeless upon me

push back



26 May 2009

to Angela

she catches the rays of the sun with her teeth,
smiles warmly
and laughs to echo everything good.

her eyes soften with concern.
her lashes never lower with shame.

she is resilient like blades of grass between
small toes

and bright
like dress whites
and moonlight over a gravel road.

she is missed

like the smell of perfume
on an old blouse.

25 May 2009

late afternoon reverie

i'm a woman

today i lived within
a woman's skin.

legs crossed
foot arched to reveal
narrow trails that bend to spell
streets with strange names.

sitting in my skin
i feel
the warmth of each freckle
one moment in the sun.

hand in lap
knuckles wrinkle and fold
to hold the faces of places
tucked tightly under mamaw's quilt.

sitting in my skin
i return my gaze to see
how a woman looks
in a woman's skin.

i'm a woman

today i lived within
a woman's skin.

24 May 2009

chicago [march 2007]

I spent the first afternoon at Millennium Park. It was beautiful. The art, the landscape, the architecture, the weather. There were so many moments happening all around me. Couples were lying on the grass. A young girl and her mother were laughing. These moments make strangers real to me. They really have families and homes and lives and emotions and stories.

Afterward, I went to the Art Institute. It was free after 5pm, and I was early. It was getting cooler now since the sun was moving behind the buildings. I found a corner in front of the building and around the stairs where a sliver of sunlight shone. It was warmer there. I sat and watched the city move.

A woman caught my attention. She was absolutely captivating. Timeless. She moved toward me and then walked away. It was as if she had ascended the stairs so that I could get a better look at her. I began to photograph her and imagine stories about her. Then, in a moment, she got into a car. She was gone.

She was my muse for a moment.

from DISPLACE [no. 5]

brass circles mimic round cheeks
full of culture
moving St. James Infirmary through pipes of place

melancholy melody
rising as a curtain to reveal
swollen, brown bodies lying like
strange fruit in the sun

song as shrill as the mournful cries of
nobody's people

lonely as the pleas of
a thousand souls wading through
poisons of the powerful with polished faces

one last breath of brass

the people exhale
notes as haunting as
the sins to be transcended.

gymnopédie no. 3

sunday rain.

the windowpanes are weeping from the sound of
ivory keys
ivory bones.

i understand the window's pain.

joy presses impatiently underneath my skin
eager to dance with
the smell of old hymnals.

splintered fingertips tap. tap. tap. tap. tap.

i remember to breathe.

the rain has stopped.