Thursday, August 5


I dream of your thirst for flushed cheeks
and ragged breathing. I whisper these summons
into my own tangled hair, silver locks strung with keys,
as if in the words I struggle to keep
from their quicksilver tumble from my lips,
in the way I keep my mouth from seeking

a descent, where damned river sinks into this jaded sand,
a song I sing to the tune of October and November and on and on,
as if black apples eaten under cypress trees
and those long-memoried lists of love were no dream;
as if at my demand he will always reach for me, once more

oh beloved, at least once more.

I play at accompaniment, draw him close
to drive him--augment it with roses and char,
with thyme and burning sugar--each song a pale-moon reflection
of how I require one hand at my throat in challenge,
how inexorable in his love,
how he raises my face to his own, so coolly

calculating my every shuddering gasp, how I live
and die for every maddening kiss. These draw us but
the truth is, cold is a game we both can weave so clean
until mouths meet skin, always sweet, a sigh and a smile,
sometimes sharp teeth and ruin,

pretense and authority. He knows this fire, too,
disguises white-hot and trembling in a pale scrim
playing at snow-sheets and shade-trees, my sunrise.
Silk-glass spun, splinters left in my skin and so-sure hand
on me shaking all imperceptible
to any but the pulse I've swallowed, shuddering,

he knows every cataract, cascade, and riptide

running through my veins will be an undoing,
and still it comes singing, still I come singing,
still it comes in fog and rhyme and unmarked depths
to catch us, even aware, bright paper lanterns all alight,
a burning in renunciation of those ashes we already knew. 

Wednesday, July 7

No Harm


Tanabata, tired hands folding waxed paper into
wishes to knot around hollow limbs, foil-bright
cranes under howling hoods.

I am still plating fiddleheads in July, through
heat advisory heavy weather sunscreen salt and
not one breath without the thought of you.

Sweat more than tears rolling down my arms as
I lift them to the sky, longing to reach that cool
river of stars that separates us still. I am caught
in canes of red berries,

I cannot be submerged. But I can weave, warp
and weft, words and winding, each thread a
fragile song whose whispered notes barely bend
a single leaf on the slender bamboo of your time.

I love in shards of glass reflecting, in the blood
that falls, in the way it cuts, unthinking:
lacking in filter, with total disregard for consequence
or the curses that ring in my wake. Śīla,

paper knives and silk, stars and every anxious
breath pulling me deeper, sky and sea. Śīla. 
A stone in my shoe and a weight on my heart.
Śīla. A ragged inhale. Śīla, śīla, śīla.

Tuesday, June 22


Even in love, permafrost. Cellared autumn against incipient winter, scarlet glass,
a blaze of coral against velvet night. Exhale your prayers, visible breath,
take off your gloves. Settle here in the earth next to me and taste the chill.
How deep my roots here and still reaching for your hands, my refuge in rosemary.

I want them sunk to the wrist at the harvest moon
and seeking, I want them tangled in my hair to unearth me, turning my face
to the heat that lights my skin. Season-agnostic I tend the shape of you, held close,
awaiting convergence. There is always space for you in my garden bed. 

Some flowers need the cold to bloom; you are the only warmth I need.
I have no heart for any other--let me be your shelter when you seek the sea,
where the currents catch their breath at your every whispered word. Lay me
more than six feet down, what's left of me lit against the ocean floor,

burning wires wound tight in my marionette limbs, tethered where weeping
Tethys rages still. Sing me from the deep, call me from the catacombs
where dawn never breaks, see me tattooed in night skies and hung with pearls.
I am only foliage, dark under the veiled moon, bright petals on the verge. 

I dream of you while I sleep through summer, lost in salt water. I will wait for you,
tend my garden thalassic, where the stars are always sharp enough to cut us free.

Thursday, June 17


Summer is like this, stifling: last winter's yuzu still sticky on my hands
and every hovering firefly flash a whisper, just a brief flicker of heat lightning.
A cygnet, a signal, a falling-star ache, whip-sharp burn of want,

A wave--it isn't the rain you asked for, falling from my hair in sparks and drops,
a smile in shudders and notes and the rose-petal bruises that blossom in my skin, singing
in molasses candy, a bed of brown sugar in the snow falling from the AC vents.

The sun so bright it burns in every direction, obscuring my way home,
the shadows so long I can't see a difference in the distance and the depth,
desire sweeter than antifreeze and just as thick on my tongue.

Saturday, April 17

Cold in my hands,

in this dream, I hold a carven silver pomegranate. Scarlet juice runs down my arms, garnet seeds scatter, I am bound in a ring of peony petals, palest blush matching my cheek. 

I bear white gauze into the summer starlight, I tattoo myself in woad. My fingertips are stained the color of your eyes when they have gone dark with desire, and I can paint on the mossy stones each shuddering breath that burns beneath my skin, reddening the pale. 

I taste toasted coconut and desert air, dry and scented with cactus blossom, I come clothed in spider-silk and pearls to the sun. I am blooming, blushing too. This year is marked in pinks. In magenta shading to deep violet. 

At the pollen-bright center my body lies, an invitation writ in gold for a kiss--oh! Just one kiss, to begin! I write all my longings in a shaky hand, posted to the wandering bee. 

Saturday, April 10


Do you know the resurrection plant? The false rose of Jericho found tightly wrapped
into a ball that looks like string? They sell them at the side of El Camino Real
next to the corn dolls that look like blank bisque pottery, like my tía in stage makeup
and the lime-green ribbons for folklórico at the bright sunset of each month, skirts whirling, 
eternally crowned with the huge white silk dahlias she loved

as big around your palm that dwarfed the saucers at the cafe I used to haunt. My sun
still rose and set on you, and the afterimage of that dizzying light tasted like the slow
burn of your smile, discretion darker than a summer midnight, sweeter than cafecito 
pouring thick into a paper cup on a counter along the busy Miami streets where
we have never walked together. Not yet.

I do not talk about the drums echoing wildly through the brilliant desert night,
some days I cannot speak at all--but how long can one false rose stay curled
so tightly in on itself that it could be mistaken for something long dead? 
Even in a city of sand and glass, the rain can roll in, thirst can be quenched,
time retrieved from drought's grasping hand.

I rise again and again from my own ashes at your whispered invocation,
the walls I built around my heart spun from moonlight and flax that shiver at a touch,
the green radiating outward, relieving the strain, relaxing each limb.

And Abuelita said: I chose this name because I wanted you to heal,
like tatarabuela, I wanted you to touch the wretched stones that 
rise in each of us and set them to rest the way your eyes dissolved my
aching bones in joy when you laughed at your own birth.

I've always preferred marigolds and the Moon, so I never bought one,
never brought any of them home to rest while
I gently pour water into a hard-baked terracotta dish so I could watch
it unfurl and bless us with so many beginnings.

Saturday, March 27


I want to taste the end of days on your skin, I want
to watch your eyes when my breath catches. Tell me
what you see, through the blush? Light descending,
time running out, the thread unwinding? This isn't
safe, it never can be. Stone sparks against water,

a mystery whose price runs high. Always on the edge 
of a conflagration. Still, I want to breathe it in, I 
want to drive those fires into my skin where I fall.
What is the feeling in my kintsugi heart that is not
quite emptiness, the desire to press my face 

against your back as you drift off, the tangible
knowledge of the aching distance we put between
our physical selves? It's no accident we're like this.
Śūnyatā whispers to me just out of reach, pale and

shaking in my hands, my renunciation of desires
forever shredded by this want, this strange and
telescopic love. As if no moment has passed, and
yet as if the end of the world has come and gone.

The resin I used to repair the cracks raises welts
on others' skin. The metal you burnished into my
wounds is all that remains. Mushin--the breaks
are our history. I will not forget, will not taste
the antidote in this life. I'd have you no other way.

Tuesday, March 2


my heart is a jackal in the desert night, makes a sound
somewhere between a sob and a peal of laughter,
is fencing the stars, slender silver stabbing against
a backdrop strewn wild and white. I dream the clouds are
swelling over the cliffside, the salt air in my mouth,
I know this. this dream where your face is imprinted
with lines from my pillow. where I place my finger

and trace in blood returning. bread rising in the kitchen,
my pulse is a muffled drum, the same as the breath
dragged from the deepest part of my lungs;

clouds dark against the sunrise,
deep blue streaked with gold and orange and violet
dim in the memory of your hair, the new light reflecting.
and I smell tangerines, I smell jasmine, I smell clove
rising from my own skin. water wants to run, water wants
to fill up your slant-smiling mouth and overflow in words
I salt away.