to my Brother’s Spirit

at first, my courage
was naive
it couldn’t have imagined
so it led with that

now my courage
feels old
no longer looking
no longing for something to happen

like Mom said – I knew
there was something
more interesting about us
and I felt it

now I couldn’t care less
I want to live
as long as we can
in case we were wrong

Playing Dead

for a possum to play dead effectively
it can’t look too good
evolutionary priority is given
to the ugly – the mottled fur
the hairless face like carrion
the chitinous tail, the smell

if a possum chooses another
she will do so for its longevity
its eligibility based on ugliness
therefore beauty
the young are carried on the stomach

tight against fat hanging
towards the ground, dragging
through ticks and the litter
disgusting, undesirable
reliable

no one comes for the possum
not the hungry, nor the thirsty
the possum does not pretend
to be alive – it is therefore safe
it is ready to drop dead
at any moment

a long, upturned smile
the secret – to live
while no one is looking

Nebulizer

my breath comes running up, alarmed
holding bags

my breath is sinched at the waist
my breath

is afraid to put it all the way in
my breath is unsure of the door

it rolls up a towel to
block the light

it knows footprints by weight
my breath escapes through

the window, and though it lives in me
it looks like a robber

feels like a robber, like
it has something of mine in its pockets

in this way my breath cares about
what others think

other’s thoughts hurt. other’s
thoughts can be controlled

my breath controls them
oxygen – a bundle of stones in the arms

of my breathing, a breathy voice, a
circulatory mind

my breathing is pot without
a drain hole

my breathing is root rot
my breath continues, though I

miss a few here and there
they fly over my head or

over my shoulder. it is a joke, or
salt, my breath, which today

feels like someone else’s. it is not enough
or maybe, too much my own

Summer 2020

I feel strongly that
I haven’t done enough

is that today?
always?

humanity beats down
without context

the sun is so hot
it is winter, effectively

a stay-at-home order
a vivid and continunous

temperature
contemptuous integers

I could go back and forth
but I’ve let the dog run

I’ve taken off my shirt
in the early hours

survived a little longer
which is enough

though I know it isn’t
we’ve survived long enough

to know that it isn’t, or
survived past it, or

consumed it
in an act of survival

what a strange threat this is
when those threatened

need more than just their lives
when the monster eats

frivolity, and I reek of it
when our spirits

sneak out at night to touch
our bodies too hot to hold

Fear of Dying

I beg the stars to move –
that is, to have died already
I’m still uncertain of their distance
now more than ever

what would happen if I ate one?
would it kill me? if I sleep
facing the sky, will it breathe me?
if I get bit, will I die?

I am unsure about so much
what does a virus want?
which is the universe
and which is the galaxy?

is it cicadas? or static on
spirit headlamps? or
feverish kazoo music?
Denis? Denis?

could be just a bug
am I doing the right thing?
where do I place
the needs that could kill me?

Nietzsche’s Sister’s Cat

I wonder if the dog, while
holding its mouth open for the cat
ever has thoughts of crushing it
flash images

like a photo continues
outside its frame, does the dog
see itself continue?
does the cat suspect?

suspect is a strong word
surely the dog is not to blame for
seeing. is seeing thinking?
neither one is doing

until it is done. so the cat is cautious
the dog inviting – its neck
thicker than its head
the skull in plates

built for this relief – sure
the cat will trust the dog one day
only after
it has never happened

Yell Fuck at Canoe Rental

geese scream hate
over a banjo being played
inside a trailer full
of life-jackets

the geese are so angry
they lose themselves
feathers in disarray off them
dropping two at a time

soon there will be
more feathers on
the ground
than on the birds themselves

you could build a new bird
imagine the feathers cleaned
and colored for crafts
kids attaching them

to their shoes, banjo music
lifting them into the sky
where light is adjacent colors
the music plays on speaker

it will never stop
but eventually the geese do
they scream their necks
into collapse, then

disperse, like light
onto the blacktop, squirming
the way light does
the light is the same light

as always. we’ve had it
this whole time. it has been
everything since and will be
everything else

it extends beyond the prism
of our atmosphere. it comes from
a fucking star – how can there
be hate?

it is only the brain making
of light what it will
the brain which has never felt
the feeling of light on its skin

Salamander

light, like the cricket that leaves the cave
our minds which consume
and think they have been. our minds

of the palest skin
they are stuck inside
the cave of skull

blind as a salamander – seeing nothing
aware of only what they see

Pressing Medicine

I do one, maybe
two things wrong &

I can’t function – my
stomach is the rag

my ribs are the glass jar
inside awash with medicine

how much does it take
to twist like that?

what do you do with
the rest?

black in the dark, black
red in the light

it is left
in the margin, discarded

white space that
oblierates, white winter

that proliferates
how can it be so many

when it is also each one?

Why Don’t You Say My Name as Much Anymore

my parents would say Terri – I mean your mother
or David – I mean your father

as if I wouldn’t know who they meant. Or like
they were each hiding some Terris or Davids

we weren’t supposed to know about. I never really
suspected, but I would listen sometimes

put a cup to the wall in my closet
that connected to their bathroom

I’d listen to my mother and father spending time
with Terri and David – coordinating spits

in their sinks – starting the shower for the other –
flushing the toilet. sometimes I’d hear the long lighter

snapping its fingers at the candle. sometimes
I’d hear the tub water. they’d say their lover’s name

– serious business in the house that holds
their children. they must have been in on it together

sometimes I’d fall asleep in the closet listening
my nicer pants and things hanging close to my face

curled up against bags with my name
adorned on them, a clear cup along the carpet