One Shadow or Two

A hand holds aloft two broken shadows
diminishing into nevers.
Sun deteriorates them
as memories overexposed
pale, ever-happening

In attempts to excise
rarely is it realized
these self-striven biopsies are
efforts to erase
not blemishes, but birthmarks.

The day I loved you, you were no longer apart
but born within.

Tomorrow’s tomorrow’s tomorrow may come
and every day you will draw breath
in the pause
when you dawn upon me
in infinitesimal ordinaries

like when I notice a shadow
and I think of you.


Scene from the Mainland

I skipped into your waves,
your uncounted fathoms,
taking for granted the inlet imagined.
I dreamt of a compass
when I hadn’t yet found you,
then dreamt an anchor
to dive in and ground you.

Churning, your eyes,
of ocean storm’s thunder,
in them I was swallowed, by them
I am sundered
from the place whence I came,
to this threshold now,
ploughed under the prow.
To your eyes I am fettered,
their tempest blue-black,
caught up in their whirlpool, no chance
to turn back;
though my fingers yet claw
at the chain of events,
your fitful tides havoc,
by them I am spent.

But the storms they shall pass
with the crossing of time,
and a port you’ll call home,
though it may not be mine.
Looking into the distance,
the miles are shortened
by bright noons and sunsets, of
horizons unfortuned.
On the sand may you leave me,
exhausted and weary,
to dream of your storms,
the shadows that bade me
to enter the water for a changeling Nix,
and the chance of his capture
by way of a kiss.

“Units Functioning as Carriers of Meaning, Combined Under Certain Linking Conditions”

Portals and ports of call
they are
found or borrowed—

we lie among them,
leave home, then return,
thinking we’ve left them behind.

rediscovered or unremembered,
they live and die in time with their keepers.

Tribes, colonies,
civilizations upon a page,
they siege an endless expanse
’til slain by a single stroke.

We birth and bury them by lines
dually indebted—
we as much of their making as they are of ours.

As friends, forgivers, we await them,
patient, certain,
as commandants, we force them
’til glass and smiles crack.

Without expiration,
they can still sour,
leaving an odor to a room
years after they’re passed.

Un-returnable, they remain with us,
acquisitions as often regretted
as treasured, most
when the finality of the exchange
is non-negotiable.

Only as foreign as we are to each other,
a few taken together can
create family from strangers
or from the familiar, estrange.

 And though a lifetime may pass
between interpretive acts,
there are still one or two
I wish to share with you.

In A Wave

As a tremor is begun
from fingertips agitated
impelled on
by past hums and singes
tingeing the skin of memory
tingling still

So a tremor travels,
a lone potent asking
no longer grasping at
lasts left
A presence profound
in the hand that
bears such questions

A tremor once sent
cannot be unshaken, not smoothed
history, unforgiving arthritic knuckle
will not allow even attempts to be forgotten.


She sat in a wheelbarrow, waiting.

In the outfield, you stared at the sky.

Something would strike—
a summer squall,
a baseball spinning astray.

Teachers spoke in cloaked poetry,
metaphors cast her as enemy,

her stomach stretched with
the oncoming storm.
Her naked navel, a collapsing star.

One swollen eye
saw neither side
yet sensed,
like searching hands,
what lay





all we were supposed to know.

For our questions
we were told instead
to read of Io.

How she grew

consumed by clouds
that surrounded her.

And she sat in a wheelbarrow,


Cinder Song

I sat on the floor, in a sea made of paper

It might’ve been Christmas or April exams

My feet they were cold and hands they were numb

I wished that my blood could warm on command

But never, love, and never mind,

Collect the kindling,

Well, who has the time?

Because fire can’t start in a damp and dark heart

So I tipped the candle to light up the room

Imitation of life, it took to dancing,

Curling its skirts as it swept through the gloom

I heard hands on the door, were they pounding for more?

Broken words burning through, saying,

“help, be here soon”

But forever, love, is ever unkind

Long sleeves in summer

To hide what reminds

Of cinder songs, just ash all along

Shallow whispers from wood

And the match that withstood the flame

Are all that remain.

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