mini-poems i can’t finish

i can’t pronounce your name, but i can still remember

the first time we kissed, soft press of lips. i promised mom we were just friends, silly

13 year old kids.


to women my father dated after the divorce

In this poem, I am too young to put

numerical values to my body or paste
names on your faces, but I know

she’s there because a bed has taken

residence where my sister’s once belonged.

12/10/17 at 10:48pm

When my eyelids flick

closed, I’m still sitting

across from you. Grey classroom.

Mulling over my words, tucking

them behind my thin lips like hidden treasures.

I know I’ll never find

time to revisit them or share

them with you. It’s okay. Gentle fingers tap

tunes on the table tops.


heartache poem (poetry spill 11/30/16)

When your first love leaves you,

your bed will no longer be a lover

you hesitate to kiss goodbye each

morning. At first, the sheets will still

smell of his cologne. Make sure to

trace the shapes he carved

our of your chest. Inhale his scent and


beg your mom to let you sleep,

curled up in her twin-sized bed, For weeks,

you’ll do this. Allow yourself to wear

the flannel he left, listen to his voice

on the answering machine, reread the texts.


Wonder what went wrong. Blame yourself,

text him anyway (just to tell him what kind

of person he is), lay in bed and let yourself

miss him. Let yourself feel


the absence, feel your fingers tremble

every time you try to say his name. Feel

a flare of anger the first time someone blames

you for what he did. Chuckles and says,

you asked for it or it wasn’t rape if you teased but

all you hear is you should feel lucky,

at least he wanted you to begin with.


Feel the edges of the holes he dug. When your

first love kisses you for the last time, it’ll

be tinged with blood. Beg your mom to hold

these moments for you anyway: pictures taken

in mall photo booths, handwritten love letters,

Beg her to hide things, tell her


you can’t be trusted with kitchen knives anymore. Hide

grandma’s good scissors. Don’t buy an X-Acto.

He doesn’t deserve

a permanent place

on your body. Get a brand new set of sheets, spray them with

Febreze. Run your fingers along the edges, feel

the empty space

where he’ll always be.

home. (thanksgiving/un-thanksgiving poem 11/23/16)

when i say you have all my words

what i really mean is you’re

the reason i have any words at all and


it’s almost been a whole year since

i’ve seen you smile, all squinting eyes

and slanted teeth. who knew a simple


sentence, an admission, could cause such

a rift between us? a memory and i wish

i had just kissed you. i remember, i know

we were never really that close, but


it’s 2012. i’m out of rehab and you didn’t

call, but your mom still invites us over for

Thanksgiving lunch. we sit on a couch,

legs touch and you smile, but i’m still hiding

fresh cuts under the sleeves of my jacket.


turkey moves to the table, our cups clink

for a toast instead of a prayer. hesitance, then

my mama bows her head. quick prayer is said. banana pudding

served on paper plates in your parent’s


bed. we eat in between bits of laughter, but when

i say you have all my words i mean

you’re the dictionary i rip

pages from, at 3am, when i cannot rest. you’re lead

staining my fingertips the color of graphite,

the most persistent poem. this is all just

a complicated way of saying:

i’m glad we’ve had



365 days, but please. can i have

my words back now? please can i

love someone else?


Object/Process Exercise: 11/16/16

My tongue is a fish, stuttering,

struggling to take a breath

inside the mouth it calls home.

Why is this still so hard?


Second guessing or tripping over

my feet, frustrated. I write,

rewrite the same sentences, tuck


myself into them like a well-loved

blanket, warm and safe, washing

off my lead stained


fingertips. Knuckles rubbing raw, I outline

letters over and over and over and over and 

over and over and over and over and over.

Hand cramp. Tears prickle but words

stick on the edges of my chapped


lips. My mouth is a dictionary,

fingers twirling to carry words off crinkled

pages at the back of my throat to

the front of my tongue. Poems start

to scribble themselves on napkins, shove


and crumble their bodies into pants pockets.

Addressed to you, subtly referencing

your eyes your smile your skin.

Fingers tremble again, and I rewrite sentences:

not perfect not perfect yet never perfect enough

“The Night Aunt Dottie Caught Elvis’s Handkerchief…” Exercise: 11/2/16

note: again, we have more strict guidelines for this poem. my professor wanted us to experiment with longer lines while incorporating the requirements in the exercise, which was difficult. we had to explore a close relative’s experience meeting a celebrity from an effaced third person perspective. it wasn’t easy and i’ve fiddled with this poem. not too happy with it, but it’s cute and about my mama, so i will share. try not to cringe too hard, please. also, i took some liberties, because it was allowed, lol. 🙂

My mother is parked outside Albertson’s, the same grocery store

where she’ll meet my father, her future husband nine years later.

It’s raining, heavily beating down on the roof of her shiny new Sunbird. Hoping

it’ll let up a bit before she needs to run in, she sits

in the driver’s seat.

Eyes shifting around the dark parking lot, keys between her fingers, she keeps

alert. Eyes a corner, the door. It’s dark and


my mother grabs a buggy, shucking raindrops off her twenty-one year old

body. Dark hair frames a face eerily similar to mine, but she holds her head

up high as she walks down aisles; confident.

My mother’s enormous bejeweled sunglasses block my view of her hazel eyes. Clothing

flatters her shape, curves pulling attention: red shorts and milky


white thighs. She embodies sass; her hips sway. Confidence in spades, she

pays no attention to what others say, unless of course it’s someone

relevant, you know? Either way, that’s what everyone thinks, at least, but


my mother struts through aisles in Albertsons, through heavy thunderstorm winds right into a man with nothing but plans. Not the one who’ll help make me,

no, but the John Travolta, from Grease. Strutting confidence gone, she scrambles for apologies, searches for her sunglasses

leaving them lying

broken on the tile



My mother’s hazel eyes gleam. She shakes his hand and he’s on his way again; groceries

forgotten. The clunky flip phone sitting in her pocket is unusually heavy, but

she grins; unwilling to wait.


Rain is only a drizzle as she leaves, shuffling to her shiny new Sunbird,

parked around that dark corner. Eyes shifting, she plops down in the driver’s seat,

shaking out her damp hair like a wet dog. She dials Vicky’s cell.


“You won’t believe what just happened,” she breathes, gripping

that clunky phone like a tether, squirming on the leather. Vibrating with

an excitement eerily similar to

my own.


Keeping My Distance In Coffee Shops [Stalker-Alert Exercise]

note: in class, we were told to sit in public for at least 10-15 minutes and chose one or two people to pay attention or hone in on. you know, like people watching? obviously, she made it clear that we weren’t allowed to break the law or be creepy, but we could take notes and make up a story, to use our surroundings as inspiration. we were told to do this and come back to our notes a day later, then write. i was inspired by a video of one of my Facebook friends (yes, I’m creepy like that), but i’m omitting the notes, because yeah. we don’t know each other well. 🙂 written initially on 10/31/16, this is the final draft.

Keeping My Distance In Coffee Shops

From feet away, behind your laptop screen,

I see you beaming through holes between

your slender fingers, toothy and bright.


A wrinkled graphic t-shirt, skinny jeans, and worn

slip-on shoes. Glasses perched on the edge

of your nose endearingly.


Cheeks down to collarbones flushed pink. Stubble’s

dusted on the smoothness of your jaw. I catch your

eyes, see

forest fire and ice.


I’m the forest fire no one can seem to tear

their eyes from: helpless. My heart has long become

a billow of smoke, but you don’t seem to know

you can look away now. You were never obligated


to be only a bystander here. We’re strangers,

but your smile is a light beam. You’re still frosted

bright pink, flushed,

and I’m afraid

I’ll melt you

if we speak.


Crisp [zoo exercise]

Just feet from the edge, we sit swinging

our legs, looking down at our feet

through murky green pool water.

Thighs touch, hands bump,


and I hesitate. Your calloused


brush mine.

I choke on words always

left lingering

at the back of my throat.


We toss twigs,

leaves, sticks.

I can’t remember which, but when

they glide across the water

I hear laughter.

six years and a pizza place: revised

puffy clouds in your glass of wine are

just like my fingertips dancing

lazily up and down

your spine. do you

remember that one time?


barely hidden behind a few

pines, vines wound

intricately around,

we sat on a shady stone bench.

kissed in the rain, our knees knocking.

fleeting fingertips on necks, cheeks, lips.

it was totally cliché, but so were we.


Survivor’s Remorse [poetry spill: 11/9/16]

Shucking jeans off, unbuckling your belt, but

I’m unconscious or just too young to know

the difference. Today, you’re wearing


a grey t-shirt, eyes travelling down to my skirt, hiked

above the knee. Fluorescent bulbs expose

red-rimmed eyes like glass. Your calloused fingers


shove, but it’s the only example of love

so I let my legs dangle there,

on the edge of that sink. Knees hit

hard laminate, bracket

my face. Let him take. Purple bruises stay and I’m


fourteen again. Chewing on pens, ink bleeding

onto my lips my teeth my chin my

arms my wrists.


Fingers shake, jackets zip, but

but as long as I keep quiet

it won’t ever matter,

will it?