Mama’s Special Recipe: A Poem


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Sanctuary lingered
where Mama broke my nose
on sweet potatoes. In the kitchen,
I was reminded
of her special recipe: beneath
a marshmallow coating, stir the orange
of divorce; beneath that, burn
against the glass ribs, fragile flesh
of the bowl, something heavy, not shame
so much as the mush, now like
a boulder, of complications,
confusion, the way he left you
behind. She hated my nose
because it was his, and so,
when Mama said to me, “Eat
up,” I swallowed every flavor, seasoned
to my taste with iron and salt.

“Who’s the big girl
now?” I ask as Laura gulps the vile
ham sandwich air. We’re in
the linoleum cafeteria, its tile the color
of vomit staring back at me
from the uncertain porcelain
in the girl’s room, just a few yards away. She
is being ridiculous as always. This time,
I’ve Saran wrapped her mouth
to shut her up, and she’s gasping
like a newborn––I’m picking a name.
Impressionable White Bread, I call her,
Stupid Sensitive
Slab of Pig. Dutifully, I cinch the Velcro
on her ego’s lunchbox,
smashing Iron Man’s vinyl face
with my thumb.

The next step, with an apron:
spoon feed, say “Here
come the airplane, stop
crying,” and add a twistof the neck, not a pinch of
regret––not a pinch––soothe,
not her, but yourself, smooth
your hair, calm your scalp
and the skeleton in
its closet, and nestle
your open-beaked bitchy, ever so
gently, in a nest of thorns.

Snail: A Poem


original photo of a real slug that i befriended (it's not a snail but it's close enough)tiny Van Gogh, let my hand
be canvas for your contrail
craftsmanship, teach me to become
a paintbrush, to live again
after they throw salt, i’ll tuck
my eyes away––even grandma
uses eggshells to kill, lets us
die in the kitchen, but
i swear they only
call us “slimeball” and stomp
our shells because they envy
our Starry Nights.

dum spiro spero: A Poem


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pour yourself
over your cereal and sip the brew

of you, press your pinkie
into the sponge cake

of your layers, step up
into three mirrors and

take off your pajamas,
shower in the revery

of coming morning orange,
hold yourself until your lungs

release the afternoons of
thumbtacks, whispering I

am an apple, dropping
from a flower,

worthy, red, worthy, red
worthy, from a flower.