My dearest of valentines
Again we meet
To share cake and wine
And shake off defeat.

I am never on my own
When this day comes around
But your eyes come to mind
Sincere and honor bound.

A day I put violets in your hair
The memory above the rest-
Picking blueberries, stains on fingers
And hearts – forever bless’d.

Bring us to a close – with fondness
The roses in your cheeks will swear
We did not go the distance, my dear-
But none will say the love was not there.


Eating fried shrimp together

We fed one another shrimp
my long hair getting in the way
hanging between us, over our arms and laps
he would chew, and take it up in his fingers
playing with it, smelling it

I would lean in, not wanting this to end
kissing his chest – what is the rest?
what do you want to hear of hedonistic folly-
days and weeks of answering to no one but each other
consuming only from the earth

We lied to those we loved
and lay over one another for months
taking turns being on top – ‘don’t stop’
he would say, surprising me
with his submission

From out of the blue, he’d say,
‘You are too kind. You could be meaner.
Too sweet and good to wield
the strap and the rope.’
And I would just laugh
pink nail polish on my toes

Never giving away my true intentions
to keep him held in my grip for as long as
well, as long as I wanted him
wanted only him
he and his flesh my undoing

His voice I still recall
‘please don’t stop,’ and I
would say – please don’t-
I won’t want
to stop

Smell and memory

Scent is a memory and he is chiefest
he and his smile reaching out to me
from thirty years ago in a storm
reclining while I peeled a tangerine
wiping my mouth on his shoulder

The day we met it was roses
beauty and glamour and colors
lavish as any red carpet night
rivaling the blooms on my cheeks
as I type this glossary of daydreams

Red wine is the color of my lover’s eyes
the one that got away, the one
that will never smell this scent or lean in
to know why I buy ninety-nine-cent green beans
but spend eighty bucks on Dolce and Gabbana

This one defining air to leave behind
so that if he makes it, walking
steps behind me, soft shoeing it
he will know that I was there
and will run to catch up

Life, this tangled seaweed on the beach
confusing our senses and good sense
suddenly, upon the scent of him
remembering a day of celebrating
when I was sure that I had just been born

Jenny, don’t cry


(written for Jenny Lind, a character in one of my stories
as I’ve been fleshing out the character in twitter)


Don’t you know girl this defeat never stays that long, taking
two rooms in your house, dense and impermeable
every sadness now is just the mortar between the bricks
the glue that keeps all the memories from flying about

In your pink world, you make everything possible
and when he knocked you flat, you thought you were through
but these are changeable times and they pass
not only the good but the bad times too they go

So tie up your hair in a satin bow and sing with me
let’s sing about your sweet cakes and the friends you seek
shall we sing of grief and soft desires, or shall we
burn up on the fire all the memories to make way for new

(that will) leave a mark


he was kind and soft
and said the right words
had a tattoo he said
on his right shoulder
and every other Sunday
he visited his aging granny

I doubted that he could
take on the world
and every time I watched him
drop a name
I got less and less sure
we’d make it past 1st base

we continued down the path
we’d set off onto
fog in places
slip-n-slides on obscure ramps
depositing us
into the mire of expectations

were we not clever
beating the doubters
coming down to fault
stalwart in our apologies
and I forgave him profusely
but I do not miss him, still

making your brain my home

we are committed now to this journey through each others’ minds-
we took the steps and there is no backwards, no backward steps
at least until we reach the end, we’ll see it through to the end
of knowing you, stealing your thoughts until I understand your miseries-
feeling you snake through my head at times tickles, sometimes squeezes hard
in those spots where it is narrow, where I booby-trapped the entrance
every tragedy covered in shame and pushing out the light-
could you just feel your way around, feel your way about the place
so that I might have comfort and warmth where you find
Antarctica, so I could have piles of skins and a blanket of care
your wild passions and tanks against the battlements of a weary mind
and I walk-a-bout your head because you let me, and make it my home
for a little while, make it feel like home until I know you so well
I will conveniently forget where the doors are, forgetting
the front door and also the back

My friends need dusting


You said
you pictured me in a great library
in a great house with a huge kitchen
where I cook amazing meals
and sumptuous desserts

I  never told you
how I gave away my life-twice-
donated and left behind every book
I had collected-except
what I could run with under my arms

Now I have begun
to replace them-to purchase again
these dusty old books
that bring such joy and peace
and also a great, big dictionary

But I panic
at the thought of running again
with that in tow
for he and I are friends now
and no man will be left behind


The first moments we touched, kissed, dove, flew
those vivid, glossy 8×10 moments that change us
when the instructor said yes
you may have your driver’s license
becoming mobile-able to leave
my bedroom fortress of books
to see more firsts, more thick, creamy
plumed moments when I was new once more

The firsts that stand out for me
from another life, of life and death before
over there, and what is up ahead, calling to me
with all the lights of Vegas, and a promise to forget
what my friend was doing in that dark corner
with Mr. First Moment-still brilliant
those times, good or bad in equal measure
each with a page in the history book

Yet none can come close to that one night
nearly midnight and drugged
scared out of my wits with my legs splayed
all eyes upon me
the fear of silence-waiting for it
waiting to hear only one first moment
that would comfort me then
when my firstborn tried out her lungs
for the first time