The last time we set foot on land was over two years ago. How odd that we are floating slowly towards the Port of Los Angeles. It took us four days from when we first saw the mountains of shipping containers to be close enough to shore to get there by dingy.
I remember when I came to visit for the Spring Festival, all those strangers around us, dancing and suffocating me with their sweltering bodies, and the subsequent fever that lasted into my final day.
“What’s in the sky? Why do you keep looking at it?” “I’m searching for answers.” His voice is deeper than I expected. “Answers for what?” “If the rain is ever going to stop. If the world is going to end.”
What can you do?
asks the man wearing a flak jacket,
guessing already I am as useful as a
Mine trauma like coal.
In the novelty museum, a woman and her son browse
instruments of torture.
More goddamn rain.
a bowl lowers down twinkling with popcorn balls, lacquer candy apples, Bazooka gum wrapped in comics, neon-yellow smiley stickers or the motherlode: full-sized Clark bars
“Put everything on it,” I said. “I want the greenest lawn in all the world. I want people to look at it and think Helen lives here.”
“Relax,” the tech urges. “This will take about an hour. You won’t feel much, maybe a slight buzzing sensation. The procedure is perfectly harmless, but it may temporarily stir up some memories.”
The speed was raised just as we could bear it, and often, almost always, at our request, because with the increase of speed our pay increased.
Hardly the “glow mantling” promised. In every respect, the most disgusting pool imaginable.
Today, girls and boys soak sugar sacks in gasoline, light and glide them up over the wall, hoping to land their kite bombs in their enemy’s future
The honeycomb is perfect for learning math. “Exact hexagons,” it says. I like that word. It’s a word my mother would have liked, too—she was a word person.
Nanveet was certain the new girl had been drinking a couple of Cokes every morning and throwing the cans into the wooded patch behind the service station. Who drinks Coke at seven thirty in the morning, he thought. How can a person do that?
We wish, just a bit, for the curve in the mountain highway
I lived beyond life and the sick, beyond ruin, hung from charred trees. I felt the ghost of otherworldliness.
we get sunburned. we get tan. we read book after book
I’m in the maze again,
playing what I thought was a
I have loved him all his life,
dedicated myself to the act itself
The only thing missing was Jesus himself—not the one in the tabernacle, but the actual guy, who they all said was coming back and would be one of us; maybe even me, Jimmy would sometimes think.
Honey Rivas smokes cigarillos delicate
burning olive branches
living in her bruised hands dying
in her angry lungs
endless gulping glugging bubbling tug
swallows the ocean into its maw
I’m afraid of the fleetingness of my skin’s elasticity.
Every day begins with a dollop of sunscreen
have you ever fallen asleep on it
can you even imagine no ulterior
have you been declared unsafe
only music and love
have you planned to drive around it
singing a cadenza
the empty road ahead—
no gas stations, no rest stops,
not even a phone booth to call for help.
Even with cancer the dog
has to be fed and the trash
has to be bundled
But I keep looking for the core world, a deeper place, that bright bell of sun. We’re not Presbyterian school girls, after all; we’re in the middle of a wake-up call.
I’m struck dumb suddenly by this egg, this enormity.
This immense incomprehensible oval and its lovely silence.
this is our home she says, skin and bones built up with love
we put basil on everything
My husband says he wants to be buried by the sea, like Neruda, so when his eyes can’t see the ocean anymore, his body would still be close to it.
Drifting here on the far side of the moon and sun, she feels strangely at peace. Trigger does, too, in the falling rain and the question of goodbye.
I will be home soon in bed. I will wake up in six hours. I’ll be home in nine minutes.
In a few minutes, predictably, the air brakes gave an angry hiss and the ton upon ton of steel strained to stop the momentum of its own barreling progress. The train finally came to a stop in the open desert.
Looking back, I can only remember the nickname given to the luger at those 2010 Winter Olympic Games in British Columbia: “BAM-BAM!,” they cheered. He was a favorite for gold. I can’t recall which country he was representing, just his…
I’m trying to explain my poems.
Sonnets equal boxes, into which
we place the cat, a gun, & all our problems.
The ground seemed so much farther away than usual. The soles slid on the carpet. She felt like a little girl in her mother’s high heels. She did not feel sexy.
Always late, and always your sleeves carefully folded. A cat knows the sunny spot.
Before I had my son, I thought I was too careless to be a mother. I had a bird for eight years that I’d gotten from a flea market as a gift. His cage was cleaned when my parents told me to clean it, his water bowl goopy and pink.