My three poems "Imprints," "Alphabet Soup" & "Going on Dates with Insane People" selected for publication by Quiet Lightning for literary journal Sparkle & Blink's volumes 30, 35 & 52.
Going on Dates with Insane People
Psychotics, say what you will about them, tend to make the first move.
– David Foster Wallace
Sometimes in life, we develop notions about our purpose
and about our place in the stitch of things. I thought,
I don’t seek them out: bipolars, anorexics,
unaware gays, social anxiety ridden types.
We go to dinner together, we talk about fear of light fixtures,
we use air quotes. Sometimes I let them hold my hand.
A purpose! I didn’t have so many dark curtains to pull back
all the time. I listened lovingly from the other side of the table
as they wept into their water glasses. I stuck my chicken
with a fork. I thought I was happy.
It’s clear why he picked me. I wear mary janes and high neck
dresses and label the shelves in my kitchen, “Tuna and Nuts,”
“Breakfast Items, Soup.” My hair is always squeaky clean.
I text him when I can’t sleep to remind him to let me know
if he’d ever like to fall in love again. He says
he hates that my heart is broken, he hopes I fall in love again.
Or at least sleep around a bit, it’d be good for me.
Life, friends, is boring. I know it now.
In this kind of cold the fingers stay red.
This kind of cold makes the nose numb and run.
The teenage daughter waits on the dog
to do his business. The deer wait out of sight,
behind the row of trees at the edge of the yard;
they are an army in the silent woods.
The daughter knows about fathers who are stern
and seem hollow and unfeeling, not unlike icy fingers.
But her father told her things that she always remembered.
Like that God allowed humans the ultimate selfish act,
He allowed them to make copies of themselves,
little people in the same image. Like God?
Then the history of life and time looked like
an army of Russian dolls, their expressions
dictated by a painter's fingers, their hands pinned
at their rotund sides.
She has proof that her dad loves them.
The proof is in the memory of him offering his hand
to the little brother's runny nose. Then cradling the mess
in his hand the whole walk home. In this kind of cold,
the day's footsteps settle in, they freeze
and become cut-outs shaped like bulbous Russian dolls.
Put a foot in a father's footstep and it looks like it could never belong.
A God looking down from the sky might wonder,
was it made by one of the same creatures? By another one of mine?
Over by the trees are rabbit prints
and ones made by deer that the dog stops to sniff.
On a night like this the deer take quiet steps
and the prints are all that give away their presence here.