I don’t own you.
I won’t even keep you
in the garage next to
the cob web covered
I don’t understand how
people, so many people,
hang onto you by their
teeth—like some masterful
trapeze act–swinging and spinning
over the audience.
I need to thank you,
though-for staying away–
and allowing me to fearlessly
fly without net to become
the woman I am.
Dorothy’s house landed in Oz.
She had lunch with the munchkins,
a steady diet of pills.
She met the scarecrow with
no brain, the tin man with
no heart, and the lion with
no courage, then blacked out
in her dressing room.
Dorothy took them
to see the wizard to get what they deserved,
and her ruby slippers took her home,
forbidden to return to Oz.
The yellow brick road was paved to
make way for a superhighway
the day Dorothy died.
He smells like sex today, of sweat and musk.
His hair a mess, dark denim jeans too tight,
His mind captivated by thoughts of lust.
He left her after the rite of cutting crust
off burnt toast, methodically chewing each bite.
She smells of sex today, his sweat, his musk.
He had noticed the perfection of her bust-
firm and no more than a handful, just right.
His mind was reeling with thoughts of lust.
Her plump lips were painted heavily in rust
lipstick, smearing with every drunken bite.
She’ll smell like sex tomorrow, acrid sweat and musk.
He whispered in her ear how he would thrust
her deep and fuck her “real hard” all night.
Her mind succumbed to his desire for lust.
He imagined she wanted one to trust,
but she didn’t want him to be her white knight,
just wanted to smell like sex again, of sweat and musk,
enjoying the feeling, captivated by her lust.
May I see you in the kitchen?”
The room your book group meets in every
Wednesday evening, a quarter after seven
because Sue’s kids are in gymnastics and
her husband left.
“Tell me about this hotel bill?”
The same room where you curled
into a rigid quaking ball after he
heaved a three-quarters empty wine glass
at your head–
The strawberry wine left pink crayon
stains on the egg-shell wallpaper you
couldn’t live without.
“Fucking her makes me forget about you?”
The room where the grey granite countertop
put Sue at the perfect height to enfold her legs
around his naked back receiving each
deep rancorous thrust.
“I need you to sign this paper…”
The kitchen where you sliced each wrist
methodically cutting away his every touch,
watching blood drips pattern in the sink.
Dearest baby Tyler,
there is a forceful silence in this
family; it is almost as if you
As if your birth blood body was never
held by your mother or your little head
was never kissed by your father.
I never saw your face, but I imagine
that even after life walked out on you,
like a jealous girlfriend, even then you
were perfect, angelic.
I guess that’s because we’d never see
your terrible, teething, biting twos.
Or hear about how you failed the third grade
math test because you’d rather play video games
than study multiplication tables.
Your parents would never have to wait up
for you on prom night, worried about what
you were doing to that girl who wore her
foundation like a second skin.
I confess that I’ve taken this silence,
this willful ignorance as my chance to
slowly swim away from this family before
I drown in the dysfunction everyone is
A warm day in spring, the sky
weighed grey and mournful. My legs
itched inside black pantyhose. Standing
on the hot asphalt we struggled to strangle
the awkward silence standing between us.
My robust, very Italian grandmother
told me my black dress was too tight.
This meant she loved me.
A man sauntered down the lush hill
and flagged us toward him. We marched,
our blackness heavy against the intense green
of manicured lawns.
Our destination was a tiny, toy-like coffin,
enveloped by brilliant white carnations.
The minister’s muffled words
were unable to penetrate the
dense fog of our sorrow. So
we stood, all of us, in a huddle.
Hands clasped in hands, clasped in hands,
clasped in hands. Keeping each other from
falling or fainting or dying.