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brought before the sun shafts,
senses lit

squinting at certainties
covered in unanswerable questions

asking in the throat,
if soreness when swallowing

should disappear
if refused such constriction?

pondering beneath lids,
if vision when natural

could heighten in mind’s eye
as if on inner journey?

contesting wrists,
if sensations when wrought up

could be alleviated
if stillness once more was common?

wondering of lips,
if sought numb and cold

could ever be relearnt
if those ghost kisses were buried?

challenging the tongue,
if these textures of morning

would slim in size
if night’s palpation is omitted?

will daylight,
shredding and sharpening—

while we try blinder, stiller, duller
but shrewder—

ever escort us home
as whole again,

or are we condemned
to be outwardly shone and sore?

a family story

there’s the time angela’s

body was seen as a ghost;

the living breathing toddler in one room,

quite another haunting

top of grandma’s stairs.


there’s the shillelagh,

having fallen in such a way

to defy

childish notions of physical understanding,

parroting for decades your uncle’s tricks

by remembering plastic pink flashlight to mandible nightcries,

and your aunt’s kitchen faucet

sink upstairs

refusing all repair.


visiting the great-aunt’s convent once,

more holy water to temple touches;

knees pink with navy synthetic embossing,

burgundy leather beneath ties to ritual creaking;

the prayers and the scent 

of processed body

of christ

the grape juice will transform if you pray for it strongly

and mean it more than you wished evil into playground pagan crossings.


the christmas tree stays up too long now that grandma’s dead

the plush carpeting under the ornate rug

hides the secret fake snow threads

you’ve pushed under

in gazing out south shore

hexagonal windows

blocked by hopes of more magic

in july

paisley upholstered chairs never felt more livable

than when you're returned

to mom's city apartment late sunday nights


the ashtray with the metal button on the marble

lazy susan, kitchen table, near large window, grandpa's here;

this seems like the most simple way to keep down complaints,

push it down to the bottom, emptied later in the trash bin

please let this be the ritual to keep everyone

soft and transparent alive.

piscis eye trinity

i’ve seen that form before—


it’s a bruise, a black-&-blue...


so intricate;

don’t you see the detail?

no, you can’t—

back of your leg and all,

ahh...i know,

it looks like a Vesica piscis—


i'm telling you, it’s a contusion. it hurts

when i go like this...see?


fresh ink hurts when you dig

your finger in it, too


how could i not know i have a fucking tattoo

on the back of my god-damn thigh?


well, do you remember what gave it to you?


it was a he




i know the hold was startling


     two temperatures at once,

     it slid into a warmth

     i won’t admit to have,

     my stomach scooped at itself

     my toes demanded contraction

     my lips lost all feeling

     my womb was felt

     my eyes went dusky

     and then...

i could see


it’s from in a dream then?


no, it found me in this