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Autumn 2023 20th Anniversary

Dear John James Audubon

Detail from Downy Woodpecker by John James Audobon

I hung suet early this year, not because I was particularly organized but because I was eager for the companionship of birds.

Abandoned Art

I once fell in love with a girl who abandoned all of her art, never signed any of her paintings. She’d fold up little pieces of paper into lotus flowers & jumping frogs, and staple them to bulletin boards around town or leave them sitting on tables at the laundromat. At bars she’d pick at […]

The Idea of Birds

We read poetry aloud. He is on the ground in front of me. I rest my elbows on my knees and lean over in my beach chair. After swimming, his black curls have slid down his neck, his hair now heavy and immobile to the wind. The ocean breeze carries a chill, so he puts […]

Mausoleum

A body wants to lie down; it wants to buy a plot. Who will meet you at the entrance to this mausoleum? She there, with her head in her hands, woman of sorrow guarding the steps, bent to a phosphorous moss so slimy and insidious it liquefies stone. Creep close to pay your respects; someone […]

Rooms

The bathroom must have been cold in winter—our house was heated by a woodstove, downstairs—but I remember it only in summer, the window open, a blue-green damp coming down off the Allegheny foothills. My mother’s silver rings in a little box, her cotton balls and talcum powder, the two knobs for water, hot and cold, […]

Three True Stories

In Pleasantview Cemetery My child does not sleep, so I go walking with the bones of the dead. The stroller wheels click along the path, trees frame panes of light across the rows. The plots, green and even, are misnamed, trading stories for simple verse, for peace. Granite markers shine like kitchen counters wiped clean […]

fistula \fis·tu·la\ an abnormal connection between organs.      I’m freshly eighteen years old. The piercer clamps my tongue with forceps and says oh, that thing’s just begging to be pierced. This discomfort is layered and hard to describe. His rubber gloves are smooth as what skin, I think, should be like. He hands me a pamphlet […]

My mother told me just this morning (Friday, June 17, 2011) that I should write something about how my affliction with cancer is really an affliction that the whole family has in some way. I believe her. I believe it.