It is 1997. The room is full of suitcases chalked with names, dates, numbers.

“When first I came,” the professor says through his grey beard, pointing, “I resented hearing always it was our fault, Germans. But this little boy, with my birthday.”

Houses of Worship

I can see it in your sly eyes
Your conspiratorial look, that you think
I look like you, I am you, Cognito ergo same
That we share not only a haplotype
But memories of hymns, the old cross on the hill
Or whatever that song is, that I don’t know

The doors to your temple are barred to me; your gods are not my gods.

I move, invisible, included in every in-joke
But mostly they’re not funny jokes
These petitions you pass me
Save your marriage? That’s between you and your spouse
Yeah, I said spouse
I said Happy Holidays
I’m sorry, did I upset you and your expectations
I’ll go back to invisibility, then.

The doors to your temple are barred to me; your gods are not my gods.

And rationality is no refuge
When you don’t look like Dawkins
When Bernie Bros and Roosh and Elliot Rodgers and Gamergate and
I’m sorry, did you not know those were problems
Maybe they’re not for you
Maybe you’re confident in your vote

The doors to your temple are barred to me; your gods are not my gods.


It does not seem enough, this single candle, to fill my lantern’s belly, spread its ribs, to coax it from my hands and steer its body windward. I burned my finger lighting it; another regret, another weight holding me to the earth.


In third grade

I reached out a hand

(Fascinated by the improbable crispness
the silver-slick edges
and the vulnerable pinkness beneath)

and touched Mr. Main’s combover

I’m sorry.
I was curious.

(it was harder than I thought, and sharper)

(like his voice)


The lamplight’s my companion on this trip
to nowhere but the pages of my book,
and outside night is falling drop by drip
by drab- light’s not the only thing you took
with you. I’ve promised that I will not look
back now on then and sometimes I believe
myself when I tell lies, when I unhook
my moorings and prepare myself to leave.

I want to be the only one to grieve,
imagining you’re well set on your way;
but words are not the only shrouds I weave
and someday they will bind me where I lay
myself down all among the starry sky,
remembering the good in your good-bye.

Kicking down a Spenserian sonnet for this month’s YW poetry slam. I only screwed up the rhyme scheme three times. Go me.

In diesen heil’gen Hallen

Listen: the Pied Piper’s flute
is sounding over the hills; the last glow
of the sun is fading with it. Come, I’ll wrap

you in fleeces, in velvets, I’ll wrap
you in mink. Remember when you played the flute,
how proud you were, sitting in your black dress, in the glow

of stagelight. I can still see you glow.
You are fire, are the coals that wrap
round the dimmingly coruscant trunks, burning like the sound of the flute.

The flute sounds its last; the footlights glow and fade. That’s a wrap.


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