Bright morning dark in the way that I think.
Wash down the drain with barely a blink
Remains of my Mentha Piperita in the sink.

(It died while they lied me down at Riverside)
The wet soil smell draws out water from my eye;
Dry roots reaching out to the memory of life:

Buzzing summer with my hands in the earth,
Green hope growing like the fruits of our work!
Oblivious I was dead ’til I remembered Rebirth.



Gone in the Morning

“Never, ever, get yourself into a situation where you have nothing to do but write & read. You’ll go into a depression. You have to be doing something good for the world, something undeniably useful; you need exercise, too, and people.”

This passage by Annie Dillard wakes me to my surroundings: my lazy, disheveled state, sitting on the couch in my night shirt & messy bun, nothing to do today except write & read.

It is the third time I reach for my coffee & realize I let it go cold again. Instead of pouring the contents into the pot on the stove, standing & stirring it to life, I dump it into the sink & resolve to take a shower.

The shower head hisses in streams then drums down on my head. I start the water cold & gradually bring the temperature up until steam fills my lungs & the air feels heavy. Shampoo then conditioner. I run my fingers through my long hair & pull out what looks like a hundred thin strands.

How am I not bald? Am I balding? I let the hairs cling to the shower wall & look at my collection miserably. I’m definitely balding.

I can’t find my razor, but I see my husband’s & reach for it.

No, I don’t want to use my husband’s razor; I want to leave him. I want to scream at such a sickeningly loud & desperate volume that the unwanted prickles will just fall off my body & leave me smooth & pure as a baby.

I am a baby. A naive, proud, impatient, impulsive, 25-year-old baby. I made a mistake. People will understand that, won’t they? After all, it’s only been eight months to compare to the rest of my life.

The cello that floods the bathroom mourns with me. For a moment I am emotional & soaring, looking at my slender silhouette in the foggy mirror & picturing I am the tragic protagonist in a glamorous movie. I swipe a clearing into the glass, narrow my eyes to my blurry image, & pretend to contemplate my soul in a deep & sultry way. But suddenly something about my sad stare becomes too real, & I defensively kill the brief amusement with another scene; the beautiful, pitiable character I assumed morphs into nothing more than a melodramatic mime, sobbing ridiculously while holding out her cup for a tip.

I let the music play, but my heart goes numb to it.

Still the mime, I paint my face. Creamy, organic paste the “crunchy” bloggers say is better for my health, but it’s just another thing I use to hide who I am & what I feel. The marks of acne I spend a shameful amount of time disguising. Less time now, though, now that they are mostly scars & not the active sores I almost bargained with God to take away in exchange for my first born child.

The child I will probably never have if I leave—I am panicked with a sudden thought. Did I somehow trade my hypothetical daughter for acne relief? Is that why I have clear skin & this unshakeable urge to disappear?

I say a quick prayer, as if to take it back, but I can’t take anything back, even if I don’t fully trust what I’m feeling, even if it terrifies me to make up my mind—because look where making up my mind got me. I just had to get married. Now I just have to run away. Or do I? Will this feeling pass? I know nothing for certain. How should I know what I really want?

I am not scheduled to work today, but I can do nothing productive around the apartment or elsewhere until my appearance is changed & my soul is cleansed by routine. So, fully made over & ready for any opportunity the day brings, I sit back on the couch & stare at the wall.

Because I’m stuck! Because I want to leave, but I can’t—not without abandoning every comfort of my “normal” life. My sunny apartment, most of my furniture, my gorgeous wedding photos, the security of a steady income, someone to take care of me when I’m too lazy to eat, someone to run to when something falls apart.

My marriage is comfort. It’s comfortable, & I may take it for granted sometimes, but my insides are vibrating with the deep, unspoken knowing that a comfortable life is not enough for me to feel alive.

I find my phone & slowly begin a text: “Hey. I think we need to…”

No. I start over.

“Good morning. We need to talk.”



Constant waves of words
Surge from your laughing lips
And crash against your chest,
Washing away the rescue—
Not a soul can touch you!

But I plunge into your mouth,
Hold tight my small breath.
Let the dark water take me.
Sink me in the lonely blue
Moon ripples like a starry sky
But even less ventured.

I listen to the distant song
And feel the crush of longing.
I know you are here,
Somewhere in the sound,
Floating in the deep.



When I accidentally let it in, it sneaks in through a single breath—one seemingly ordinary breath in a normal rhythm—so I never see it coming.

In through the nose & out through the mouth, in through the nose &—oh God!—

Heaviness like the color black drops straight into my chest. The sudden weight shatters my equilibrium, sending my eyes & thoughts spinning into my head. All around the fizzing, dancing, pinprick lights, I see threatening shadows creep in from all sides, like a dark wave swelling over me.

Am I drowning? Am I falling? Is the top of my head floating away? No, no, it is only in your mind.

My body is frozen with a chill that starts at my ears, crawls down my neck, my back, my arms. I realize then that my mouth tastes like blood, but it is a phantom smell; I triggered a reel of “teeth falling out” dreams to play. The fear of losing control circulates in my brain. My heart jolts & then quickens; my eyes widen; my hands shake; my teeth clamp; my stomach twists itself in a knot like a fetal position; & I can no longer breathe.

How again do I breathe? In through the nose—no, I did that. Out through the mouth?

I let it all go. The panicked parts of me immediately start to balance out again. I know I should keep breathing, seek the balance, but I am scared to take another sip of air.

What if it is there waiting for me? I’m sure it was hovering just above me all along…

I clutch my chest & focus my eyes in front of me.

In through the nose

A normal taste, a normal rhythm. My heartbeat slows. A minute of even breaths passes. I sit up straighter in my chair.

Just as quickly as the anxiety came, it left, & the day resumes again.

I never see it coming.




Do you see me?
In the holy space above you
Tethered by the gravity of your pride
Dipping down to sip your exhales
Frantically pushing away
When greedily I brush your lips

Do you feel me?
Groping the tapers of your shadow
Naked to bid it cling to my skin
Awkwardly mimicking the dance
Laughing with exhilaration
Then retreating back with shame

How many float here?
In the orbit of our delusions
Imprinted with the dark side of memory
Slipping further from reality
Centrifugal desire
Force, pull, placate these longings



100 Days of Haiku [61-70]

Day 61:

He can’t say the words
I banished them from his lips
Until he means it

Day 62:

I miss my kindred
Years now I have been unknown
Years more I shall be

Day 63:

Curls, teeth, fairy laughs–
Does she know of the Siren?
How well she wrecked you

Day 64:

It is amazing
How beautiful she becomes
When sure she is loved

Day 65:

Is it truly so?
“Better to have loved & lost”
When loss would kill me

Day 66:

West Wind, sustain me
Bring me back to the breath-source
Cover me in pine

Day 67:

Words in the Beginning
Spoken birthed the Universe
And flowed ever since

Day 68:

You are in ev’ry
Memory that I possess
That I care to keep

Day 69:

My fear prevents me
From laying even one brick
On life’s foundation

Day 70:

Late to my party
Sorry – But I have been dead
Asleep in my soul


100 Days of Haiku [11-20]

Day 11:

“My Love, we have time!”
But I see Mortality
Sliding down our throats.

Day 12:

I used not to care
What anyone thought of me.
I call that freedom.

Day 13:

On my ass all day,
No plan for a single thing –
Except this haiku.

Day 14:

How silly I am
To shoot my lens at the moon!
That glow – too subtle.

Day 15:

Too tired some nights
To write, to think, to try.
And yet, here is this.

Day 16:

Asleep in your bed,
To wide awake in your bed,
To sleeping again.

Day 17:

Put our past away.
No polishing off the dust.
Burn it, if you must.

Day 18:

Couches, cats, paintings,
Kids, music, sex, money, God.
 Je sais, je divague.

Day 19:

It is receding
Under my scarred, aging skin.
Slowly – my beauty.

Day 20:

I was weeping… drunk
On the impossible past –
For other reasons.