It’s a decision, fractured
a time limit
a constricting vein in the head
it’s a bad feeling that spreads
through your stomach and up up up
it’s an angry mother
a wounded friend
a fleeting lover
an icy pen
it’s a moment turned red
a hunting ground for regret.




For Us

Be okay
not for me
but for you
I pray
just in case
for I never know what state your future is in
you care for it so much and yet you risk it relentlessly
travelling through different layers of the Earth
boiling yourself alive
staring down foxes in the night
moving up and down mountainsides
take care of yourself, please
for you
but maybe even for me;
my future looks a little like you
and I am not so willing to risk that.


I could sleep and wake up
and you might be here
I could sleep and wake up
and you may not
either way the sleep will be hopeful
I’ll hug myself like a girl
and touch the sign on my wrist
and try not to wait for the bed springs to quake.

Too Happy

Hush, put your heart to rest
do not lie awake and watch the window for his silhouette
do not think of him taking your hand
or the motion of his chest
that shuddering moonlit canopy:
you will not gaze up into it
or be swept by the rush of warm, summer breath
my god, I know it aches
and travels up and through your nightdress
too happy thoughts.

And do not think of that Neverland, your twinkling dream
do not think of being “mother”
not even to an ant
do not think of him as “father”
not even to that ant
not yet, not yet.

Wendy, darling, put your heart to rest
lest you frighten him
lest he leave you nothing but a shadow
and a cold, abandoned thimble.


I watch the blood swirl between my legs
it wasn’t my time, he did it to me
her gaze tugs at my sleeve
please, officer, don’t leave
it wasn’t her time, he tried to do it to her
I cuff him, he’s half-dead
he thought he could smuggle her into hell with him
he thought the red bouncer wouldn’t see
her angel-light burning through his overcoat
they sent her back up to me
I held her hand and took her home
“come, love, wash your face”
three full pumps of soap —
she washed her eyes first.


It came to me again:
I used my arm and pretended it was you
we can’t collide
not even in a dream
but call me ‘mine’
cause I think that’s what I am —
I think I’ve been it for a while.


Maybe it’s me
who drags my own sobbing body
who strings it up on that far-fetched branch
who watches from the foot of the tree
as I choke on that morning’s epiphany

Finger-paint the word across my own torso
red slur
‘Don’t talk to yourself that way,’ she says
‘It makes me so angry to hear you talk to yourself that way.’

But I still say it to myself in secret:
’You’re sick
and you’ll never make it out of your head alive.’

Not Mine

You’re lovely, sweet rabbit
but so am I
and we need to be equals;
those are your words, dear rabbit
not mine.

So I’ll take your time
if you care to give it
but I won’t chase you, my rabbit
not through field
not through forest
not through thicket.

An Afternoon with His Niece

I could mother her
teach every fear in my head to pronounce her name
take the dog’s dripping jaws in my side
a too small jacket, but she wanted mine
I smooth her hair back
follow the shape of her cheeks
it’s our turn in line:
“Hayati, what do you want?”
she looks up, his eyes
“Everything, everything.”
and it’s hers.