Featured Poems

You Can Stay In A Place Too Long

Even our homes tire of us—
the once-bold area rugs,
red madder root patterns bleeding

from light they lay in
year after year, tread upon and admired
in equal measure. Dirt ground into tile

seals secrets like kisses, like passion
flowers in the overgrown yard
we debrided like a wound, suturing

a new landscape when our hands flew in and out
of pots, when no heat could make us stop,
until we just gave up. Frayed edges

fill familiar rooms—
in each corner, a context
begs forgiveness, justifies

those times we dug into our digs
before the walls closed in
and off, like power

flipped. We weren’t at fault for wanting
envelopes in which to hide, to live,
make work our life, make love

to last forever. We were blameless believing
occupations could belie transience.
We were blips. We know this now.



— from Rust + Moth, Fall 2021

If the Fragment is the Story

then the letter Arnold sent my mother in the ’80s
was nothing more, nothing less than his script

on letterhead, reminding her of their bond
as classmates at Miami High, where once

is always, everyone heeds each other, melting
in time, and along those lines, he has friends in high places–

a certain Senator if you want to know–
who’d be happy to help her find work

if she needs it, before, in closing, Arnold says
whenever he thinks of girls from back then,

it is she who comes to mind
as the sweetest—one he has never forgotten—

but there is no blatant invitation, never does he say
he’s married, ask if she’s happy or how many children

and when I look for traces of him
elsewhere in her hope chest, he is nowhere

in her yearbooks; not a single note from him
appears alongside other scrawled goodbyes, good lucks

nor is he listed with the smiling others
in the photo of the kindergarten play,

no clipped obituary, or evidence of her reply
but on the jagged edge of a leaf torn from an album,

I imagine Arnold there professed his love
before a jealous ex wiped clean my mother’s memory

for suitors, her nostalgia for pure desire—
left Arnold unfulfilled and buried in the cedar

with our baby clothes, in the margins,
holding secrets we were never meant to know.

— Finalist, River Heron Review Prize, Summer 2022

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