Migration

we come quickly, fleeing carnage, carrying father piggybacked

stop in Carthage for entertainment, destroy living rooms

then descend river, swirl down basin, finally fold

x over x

to me

i’d like to know more about my ancestry, i’d like to go there

we don’t keep records

or tabs, preferring to buy and drink at home

we can safely avoid modern developments

pesky railroads and stopwatches

we become glass blowers,

real estate developers

(or land-thieves,

however you like)

don’t you know why there are so many of us here?

then booze smugglers, horse thieves and later,

warriors, wrung out in medic tents, damming blood

veterans, limping ‘round the cottage

cripples staring at stolen bayonet with sad eyes


because there is nothing there


drunks

Degenerates

literates of half-baked culture here

where we have no taste for history or even myth

ghost trappers half-hearing dead language

magicians at making the tock tick ‘til 5

what you long for is nothing but marshes and flat air

he waits for my laugh to drop shiny needles onto silver sheet

but it falls out dull horseshoe onto yellow dirt


Appeared in the UC Review, Spring 2018 Issue (Toronto)

Titanic

i lie in the lifeboat
and want to scoop my heart
crushed cranberries
at dinner
when we straddled tectonic plates
stilled, for the moment
until i spilled the milk
a tremendous tide
of white
suburban tsunami across antique table
the one that grandfather gave us
the one with wings like an ancient angel
me, a little moses
in my little dressing gown
flailing my hands about, useless
fragments at my feet
and you, an old testament god
fracturing the evening
with your inferno
me, in my confusion
i wonder how the sweetness of a voice goes sour
why skin becomes suddenly brittle and thin
mouth sinking downward
eye a fearsome grey
a sea standing in my way
i want to part this sea
scoop my heart to make room
for the air
swimming upwards out of lungs
slowly filling up
with weights
too quickly
suburban shipwreck
leaky ark
swallowing cranberries
and childish deification
you found the breaking point
and broke in half
sank
piece by piece
suburban scuba divers
make a 'tut, tut' sound
as bubbles escape sadly to the surface
while they gaze at treasures lost
the wonder of your existence
and your disappearance
and the new world
you will never reach

Appeared in the UC Review, Winter 2017 Issue (Toronto)