Two New Poems in Black Napkin

The good folks at Black Napkin were kind enough to include two of my poems, “Winning a Date with Emily Dickinson” & “Two Months Out,” in a recent issue.  “Winning…” actually comes from a free write I did in Emily Dickinson’s bedroom this past summer.  Thanks to the Emily Dickinson Museum for inviting me to take part in their project.

Winning a Date with Emily Dickinson
written in Emily Dickinson’s room
             in Amherst, MA 7/19/16

I shall never get you put together entirely
-Sylvia Plath

What a wild, wild quiet to this room,
a Van Gogh’s ear of quiet.

I stand here in patient starch.
I know nothing of sadness, but sadness.
Step past the rope and it remains a room.

Could sit in this chair, could light a fire,
could go to this desk and write—personally,
I’ve never felt like myself until I’ve broken something.

They told me to wait here and you’d be up shortly.
I’ve heard you have to walk into a person’s room to really know them,
but in your parent’s house it’s never really your room, is it?

Place myself in a time,
place myself in a life—
there was indulgence in this house,
there was gossip in the town,
there was noise in the floor.

What do I give you—
a quick walk and a frantic forehead,
a wry smile and quiet step?
I may never get you put back together, will I?
Your favorite dress is white and kept under glass somewhere else in the city.

Step past the rope and there’s furniture from within the family,
there’s the original stove and a bed you kept.

There’s water for washing, fire for heat,
windows to look through and light light light,
enough light for I love you.

Two Months Out

We broke apart the crib and framed it around
her rib cage, to hull her wild infant heart.

Out here on the water our hair tangles
with hers, we’re growing out of her control.

Can we admit that keeping something alive is killing us?

That nail we keep fixing just brings on more water
is it better if one of us sits over there?

I know I’m not listening how can I listen
her breathing is my mist is our breath is this fog

can we break apart while she’s sleeping?

This lighthouse of monitor static
its pulse of red cuts in a swath across

our bedroom. Listen to every dip and rise,
is this storm coming or going?


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