Still

My poem “Still” was just published in Issue 28 of Damselfly Press’ online literary journal. I’m thrilled to be in this journal of talented women’s voices. Click the link, or check it out below!

Still

Soaping dishes in the kitchen sink, watching
light and wind filter through the stained-
glass chimes you hung out on the porch,
I think about the quiet smallness of the moments

in which I love you best: the lulls, the Sunday
afternoons that stretch like yawns. You’re out there,
in our yard, past the porch’s bowed railing and crooked
steps, determined to teach wisteria how to grow

around the railing now, though the whole thing needs
fixing, and I can see you—your shoulders
growing redder in the warm, bright spring as you dip
below my sight to run thin, green wires

around the tendrils and the wood. Our best days
are the days like this: the ones in which you buy asparagus
from a plaid-shirted farmer and manage not to overcook it,
or when I find earthy beer on sale and we drink

on that sagging porch while the stars come out. We spend
our weekends away from cubicles and break-room coffees—
instead, stripping printed wallpaper from the kitchen; staining
cabinets a brighter, cheerier brown; sketching how we think

these rooms should be. Sometimes you draw a cradle
in the one beside ours—the room I fill with bookshelves—
and cock your head when I thumb it to a smudge.

You pull weeds in our yard. I air the rooms that still smell
dry and sour, like ancient linen and the lives of others.
We hammer and scrape, fit tongue in groove for new floorings,
write brief notes on painters’ tape. Behind you, I can see

the willow’s base has thickened from our kitchen window;
its thin branches wave like hair. How frequent our small moments.
We are so often going nowhere together, in this house
we are trying to rebuild ourselves, under rafter beams
you have planed with your own hands. I ask that you

remember the cradle we once bought, the one I chopped
to kindling when I lost her. I would not stop
crying, and you brought me the willow sapling—said
it would always weep so that I wouldn’t feel I had to.

So, June happened…

Please excuse me (which I say as much for my subconscious as for you, whomever or whoever hasn’t stopped reading).

This seems to be the summer of I keep not writing, which is both okay and not okay. What am I thinking? I need to write more! But then the whole MFA thing, writing all the time thing, starts in just a few weeks…and so it is inside my head.

Part of me wants to stay up and write all night. Part of me would.

But I’m juggling three part-time jobs and some contract writing and I’m a little spread thin, so to speak. I’m about to hit a new work record…39 hours in 4 days, and I need to be up at 6 AM tomorrow, so I’ll be crashing instead.

Until next time (soonish)…

Oops…MIA

Realizing I seriously have been MIA for over a month…

May was crazy. I graduated from college, injured myself, took tons of pictures, had about a million and a half ups and downs…and am currently living at home for the summer before moving into my own apartment and starting grad school in the fall. I need to write more. I need to read more. And I need to work more. Here’s to quite a busy summer, and I’ll work on actually being on here a bit more regularly. =)

Weeds – Nathaniel Perry

I told you I was worried. Water
had collected up against the foundation
from the rain we had, and you must have thought
I was talking about our foundation,

though I meant, of course, the one beneath
the house. But it was too late, your mood
had changed and then my mood was changed,
and we charged around the house mooding

and changing. I siphoned the water
away from the house, which took a while,
which was probably good. You made dinner,
which was good, and also took a while.

As we ate, the sun drew familiar
shapes on our walls, but we didn’t notice.
And then the light slipped down and made
a bright new shape, but we didn’t notice.

Well, lovelies, it has been a while! I didn’t realize it had been so long since I’d thrown anything up here.

If you’ve been reading for a while, you know how obsessed I am with Nathaniel Perry (his brother, Drew, is also an incredible writer; it must run in the family). N. Perry’s whole book is beautiful, but I’ve been particularly drawn to this one lately. I love how real this is. I can very easily believe that quarrels between lovers start out this way, some misunderstanding both parties let blow out of proportion. Fault on both sides, silent brooding and mooding and charging (also, I just can’t get enough of that phrase, “and we charged around the house mooding / and changing.”). So I love this.

If you’re interested in reading more by him, check out Green Manures and Cover Crops; In Bloom, Where the Meadow Rises; Remaking a Neglected Orchard; and my ties for all-time favorite, Tried and True Ways to Fail and Grafting Fruit Trees.

Cheers!

Eight-Ball

My father taught me how to level
a pool cue across the bridge of my hand
on the table. He’d take me
to the kinds of bars open in daytime,
lit by dim fluorescents in the ceiling
and neon beer signs hanging
over faded green felt.

I would pour my own tall glass
from the tea pitcher on the wait table
while he placed the balls in their rack:
yellow ‘1’ at the head, black ‘8’ in the center,
a stripe-solid-stripe pattern resting
inside the white plastic triangle.
When he finished, he would knock
its three corners with the cue ball;
say it kept them all together.

I learned to recognize the clack
a pool cue makes against the ball when it needs
chalk; the feel of testing a shot before swinging
even, my arm a pendulum; and the number of scratches
against the lock his key would make
before I could offer to fit it in, turn the knob.

I’m excited to show off the final version of this poem, and to announce that it is doing well out in the world! It will be published in Issue 65 of Colonnades, Elon’s very own literary and art journal, which will be revealed on April 29. It’s also a finalist for the 2014 NC State Poetry Contest and an Honorable Mention for the Anthony Abbott Award.

On a personal note, it’s also probably the poem I’m the proudest of at the moment, so I’m thrilled it’s found a home in print and in these contests.

Coming to This – Mark Strand

We have done what we wanted.
We have discarded dreams, preferring the heavy industry
of each other, and we have welcomed grief
and called ruin the impossible habit to break.

And now we are here.
The dinner is ready and we cannot eat.
The meat sits in the white lake of its dish.
The wine waits.

Coming to this
has its rewards: nothing is promised, nothing is taken away.
We have no heart or saving grace,
no place to go, no reason to remain.

This came through my inbox the other day thanks to Poetry Foundation, and I was blown away by the sadness of it. I love, love, love poems like this one; its words are so simple, but it communicates something so true.

Exact – Rae Armantrout

Quick, before you die,
describe

the exact shade
of this hotel carpet.

What is the meaning
of the irregular, yellow

spheres, some
hollow,

gathered in patches
on this bedspread?

If you love me,
worship

the objects
I have caused

to represent me
in my absence.

*

Over and over
tiers

of houses spill
pleasantly

down that hillside.
It

might be possible
to count occurrences.