Winter Meditations

It comes like a hiss
between teeth:
history before burial,
monolithic pressure
crushing us to diamonds.

Skin against sheet,
callous against tile,
rock against an open back.

Everything falls silent but
the loud sparkle of the city
when I see the omens in your palm,
omens in the fog,
omens in the feather
floating in the water.

Capturing Myth, Introspect

Artemis At Target Practice

A sickle-faced moon
for the sallow night.

Slow in the dark,
quiet as a page,
the nest in my damp bones
until my arms shake
like the leaves
threatening fall.

broad-shouldered, starry-eyed,
tries to hide,
creeping beneath starving branches,
plump with harvest.

His hands touch the wood
as he passes thoughtless,
scraping at the scars.

I think of an earlier night,
and a moon so fat I licked it
off the sky,
bow footstep-heavy,
eye arrow-sharp.

My arm shakes,
the arrow sings.
I open my mouth
for the moon.



I would rather kiss than learn, or better:
do both,
searching for the forbidden master,
the unclaimed god I want to satisfy,
while he denies.

I want the strength that comes with
ripping roots from the ground,
the sweetness
that comes from biting into
an unripe apple.

I want to know things,
and not grow them,
to leave shaking in my wake
(undisturbed myself) and



We were like Moishe splitting the ocean,
outrunning the darkness,
and triumphant.

My mother carried me
across the world,
putting my feet in the soil here
to grow beside the maple.

You know
we did try, the ice skating
and snow forts,
canoeing in the national park

grow, make your roots, your brilliant leaves
this is for you
this is for you
this is for you

But somehow
the salt of the Caspian Sea found me
a dream away,
left me
with a craving
for apricots and tragedy.

Me in this maple soil:
buried with the bear skulls and wolf jaws,
buried with the arrowheads
buried with the goose shit
buried like a thief on stolen land.

Why won’t you grow, supplications of a mother
who waters with her own
hot tears

I put the Canadian bone in my mouth,
scraped out the marrow,
found myself wanting.

salt from the sea, snow on the mountain,
apricots dropping like stones

I dream of splitting myself,
body here,
blood singing for the apricot,
but leaves with eleven teeth
start to grow beneath my nails.

Capturing Myth, Introspect


Frightened by learning to live
in vacuums,
hunger is a result
(I am told)
of punishment and penance,
paid humble.
This is why I am kept
spinning on the wheel and crucified
by stars, fed
on the nauseous smoke
and the starving laughter.
I love the green season,
when the fruit hangs low and heavy
on the branches
that I cannot reach.
My fingers shake with little tremors,
fault lines in the joints.

Full and aching to burst
like pears ripening in golden skins,
getting fat,
growing luscious,
dripping with gentle amber.
Down crawls my throat,
pricking with want, as if there are seeds
sowed before the frost
that are waiting to be hatched.
I swallow them down.
I know all they grow are nightmares
of fevers unrelenting
and deep, deep hunger,
nights unslept.

Blooming dreams surround me and
I cannot touch,
I watch the pears grow from green to gold.
I watch them ripen
and cannot touch;
while the freckles
on their distended skin
threaten to burst, I cannot touch.
I ache for it,
the slow burn,
I do.
The hunger mounts,
something quiet and inexorable,
and I lie in the waters
I cannot drink,
pears begging for my palm,
my tongue, my teeth,
the hunger I cannot hold.


Boreas II: Meditation

Harsh promises come
on an iron ring,
older than the hills,
Norse blood still hidden
in the runes.

This oath,
doused in a steel sky,
is a miser of spring rain;
this is the kind of grey
that hangs over labyrinthine tombs,
keeping the swamp magic,
marsh secrets,
rituals of
the bog.

Virtue counts fortune
in threes,
finger folded against palm for:
every caw of the raven
every gust of northern wind
every knock on hollow tree,
while the old bones whisper
of prophetic doom and death in dreams,
pushing locks of hair down into
cold water.

Metal from the earth
is colder still,
draped over warm bodies,
left buried
with the rest of the mysteries.

Index, middle, fore
on the heart line,
and Ragnarok on a pine tree
that has seen more of winter
than the sun.



Often Truth adorns
the mirror,
a vagueness
on the windowpane
but I have sunk
my teeth
in her palm.

She used to feed me,
but now
I starve,
mouth against the pillow
where the feathers eat
my secrets,
my heart’s desire.

There is a new
for the young romantic;
my hair is tangled
rather than tousled.
I cannot afford nightgowns
trimmed in white lace. Sleep
is a surrender
rather than a ritual.

Secondhand bedsheets
make a tombstone for my nose
while I suffocate
in your secondhand scent,
the hand-me-down sweat.

Still I dream
of tenderness, and the guilt
into the loneliness
like salt.


Boreas I: Compliance

I breathe through my nose
because my throat is
sore with mystery,
phrases lost between
hot water and the
morning commute.
And it is sour:
winter wool rises
in the damp and the cold,
and each luxury
is a stake
beaten into frozen ground.

Sleepiness digs me deeper
and deeper,
all the hidden sheets
rubbing my body to
quick to anger and
to possession, stripped bark
like a missing photograph,
lost wasp from
honeyless hive.

How sick we get
in the quiet season,
death muting even the footsteps
muffled in the dark.
So the dust sticks
to the radiator
so the walls turn,
and so I leave the sun like
an embittered lover
every night,
waiting for her at
the threshold in the morning.



When my thumb presses little
on a cakebox,
the scarlet moons
the crescent of my mouth.
It draws back,
the memory on paper,
recoiling like a shotgun.
How much do you think
lovers spend on
mosquito dreams —
foreign blood
and kissing?
They must pay less
than they do for
carelessness, than I have
for ignition. The fire
has lit my bones
and my lungs
are scorched.

Introspect, Weaponized


There is a pain in my ribcage
that hasn’t gone away in weeks.
Breathing is impossible
I conquer something warm
to my side.

The Photuris firefly mimics the mating lights of nonviolent females
in order to lure males to the ground
before eating them.

I wonder if animals with teeth
pity the things they kill
as much as they want blood. I
wonder if it is O K to be
disappointed in a meal
that bled too easy.

They do not know
what I want
because I sit on the emptiness
and grow out evils in my hair
and they can’t touch me. You
can’t touch me,
sad man, lonely boy,
you don’t know if you want to talk to me
or fuck me,
so you watch me.

I wonder if I should see
a doctor about the stabbing pains
in my lungs.

Watching usually isn’t enough.
They always try to hold you
like you want the same things they do,
desperately, pathetically.
But you’re soft-hearted and
you don’t mind being held
if it gets you closer to blood
at the end of the day.