The Mist

Originally Published: The Rising Phoenix Review, December 2022

‘What’s this place called Willow
Mist everyone keeps talking about?’

This place called home you
Built with two hands

Designs on a drafting table
Filled with wood and brick and

Stone like a body becoming. This
Place where your Caralouisa

Waits for you, wonders when you’re
Coming to sit by the fireplace

Again. This place that holds
Years, laughter, spilled red wine,

Scarves and sauces, love and bitter
Words–the things of la famiglia.

Maybe you still feel somewhere
In your chest that it’s a beautiful

Place when you close your eyes, maybe
You still hear the piano and

Smell and taste home. Perhaps
The heart can remember what the mind doesn’t.

You point to the library in
The photo, remembering, ‘This is

Worth a million dollars to me,’
You tell me from the hospital chair.

French Like Wild Blackberries

Originally Published: Eunoia Review, December 2021

That’s not quite French, she said, lips
Pursed to the side. It’s like a creole

Not one or the other. Just one house down
Always from being right, one footstep

One century, one president. With soul closed,
Judgement open of course she can’t see

Complex webs of light and life, drums you feel in
Your ribs, warm plantains, and french like wild blackberries

Big Purple Ones

Originally Published: Door is a Jar, September 2021

Would you believe me / if I told you big, purple clouds are moving across the sky / slow, fat, and lovely / at this very moment / and you’re missing it?

No Ghosts, He Says

Originally Published: Door is a Jar, September 2021

My partner says there are no ghosts here.
He grew up in a place where the

Spiritual world kissed the living.
With sirens and zombies, and salt circles, and magic.

I grew up in one where death and the soul
Were not polite dinner conversation.

He says it’s too clean and built up here
Or something like that.

What are ghosts, I ask, at the core? Are they not
beings violated, seeking peace and closure for this world?

If so, we must have ghosts here–
Of women burned for their words,

Black children robbed
Of their future and genius,

People of this land
Forced to march to disintegration.

Though we walk past without seeing,
This nation must be teeming with spirits

In water coolers, construction
Sites, beer booths, dentist chairs,

conference rooms, parking garages,
Sidewalks, gardens.

And mustn’t it gut the spirits and us both,
To imagine they’re a fantasy?

Blood & Battery Packs

Originally Published: scissors & spackle (ELJ Editions), January 2023

They thought we were destined to fight, a mess of hair, nails and bitter
Words. Over men, usually, always–even in whole worlds of not-men.

My mother brings her home in a blue and white blanket, it’s one day
After Christmas or two–I think she’s a present my mother forgot to wrap.

I know where each button is and when to push so she’ll sink
her teeth deep draining blood and leave us both in tears.

I dress her as a clown for our front-yard circus and take a polaroid of
Her frowning underneath a painted smile (that I’ll never live down).

In the mall parking lot, a man struggles to open his door with ice cream
In hand and I’m crying from nothing, then we’re both choking laughing.

She makes a dress for prom with light strips and a battery pack,
dripping with grace, the coolest person I know.

She’s in an accident, I am camping or someplace without service;
With blood in her eyes, she asks for the scarf I gave her in the backseat.

On her couch in Queens, I try to describe the indescribable like
the still of a lake, that I am certain is magic, she insists she doesn’t see it.

At my house for the long weekend, I think we’ll share my bed like we did
When we were young, pulling the metal frames together at Nonna’s
To stay up late talking. She’d rather spread out on the couch.

She’s unwell and I feel it, without looking at my phone,
Even though we were never connected exactly.

There are whole worlds between us and of us,
Odometers and ice cream, blood and battery packs.

Merging onto the freeway, windows down, we see silhouettes, two girls in
The back seat, we’re frantically waving until they wave back.

One More Leaf Fallen

Originally Published: Door is a Jar, September 2021

Are you ever filled with a desire
to get close to the Earth?
It comes on quickly like missing
the last step in the staircase.

And you have to drop down
to the level of the dirt.
Belly to the grass,
tops of the feet on the cool ground.

One more leaf fallen and left,
precisely as you landed.
For a moment,
called home.