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Unexpected Expected Guest

You know it's coming when the window leaks,

so you watch between the rain for its face.

It slips in your house like lithium grease

and you are certain it's in the right place --

It shakes your head loose of all of its change

and it spins all your most scratched-up albums;

it knows its short visit was mostly strange,

so it carries a basket of breadcrumbs --

It leaves its smokes on the curb of your sink,

its spice-smell set in your pillows and clothes;

it's heated the house to a deep red-pink

with a cotton-haze hum, and as it goes --

It breathes out black-pepper CO2 fumes,

ensuring you're paused until it resumes.

Come Sunday


Come Sunday, my parents will burn to ash.


My father will take his final road trip,

The same drive he spent 40 years learning,

To a hillside beneath a knotted tree,

Where he will laugh in the wind forever.


Constantine, and David, and my Robert;

Soon too Nancy, and Barbara, and Glenn;

Nearby Connie, and Ricky, and Irene;

And one day, the last of them all, Michael.


Come Sunday, I will polish their bronze plaques.


My mother will be reduced to a jar,

Contained as she always hated to be,

But will stay where she always loved to be,

With the single love of her life: with me.


Elma, and Paula Jan, and my Susan

Will build their neighborhood on my mantle,

Watching from their windows like surveyors,

Tittling and giggling forever.


Come Sunday, I will carry them with me.


And come Monday, I will burn to ash too.

What They'll Say About Us


They’ll say,      It’s never quiet when Mommy’s home. 

          She’s always got music, sometimes TV,

          so we can’t ever hear ourselves thinking.


they’ll say,       when she’s in her office.

          Then it’s silent except for her mumbling.


one’ll add,        the tapping of her keys.

          We have to be quiet when she’s working.


They’ll say,      Driving with Mommy is fun.

          She plays music and dances and sings,

          and we play games with the letters on signs.


one’ll add,       she’s the worst when we’re tired.

And when they’re older, 

they’ll say,       How embarrassing.

They’ll say,      Daddy is nothing like Mommy. 

          When Daddy's home and Mommy's gone, it's quiet.

          He plays legos with us, and board games.


they’ll say,       when he's in his office.

          Then it's just the loud loud noise of his keys.

          We have to be quiet when he's working.

They’ll say,      Driving with Daddy is easy.

          He doesn't talk or play the radio --

          He minds his business unless we ask.


one’ll add,       sometimes it can be boring.

And when they’re older, 

they’ll say,       Thank God.

They’ll say,      Mommy and Daddy are the best.

          They're our favorite parents in the whole wide world.

          We love them from our hairs to our toes.

And when they’re older, 

they’ll say,       We hate them.

And when they’re even older, 

they’ll say,       We're sorry.

And one day,

when they’re parents, 

they’ll say,       Thank you.

Thought Lost


I know little more disturbing than thought,

Without which death is but a misplacement

and misplacement, but a slip of the mind;

slip hewn of satin and milk-hued lace lent

by persons lost in my mind-room of rot.

Cons of the Written Word


Being a poet is altogether different

from being a writer.

Being a writer,

every word doesn't need to be languid,

beautiful, and lovely --

there can be rough parts. Parts with weird wordings

and messy language. Parts that aren't important,

need no analyzing,

and wouldn't stand up in ninth grade English.

Poets, no matter if they're optimists,


or the most damning realists,

have to present everything with grace,

wrapped in crystal paper.

But not writers --

We have the eerie freedom

of convicts.

Twin Candles

One day soon,

you'll be shorter.

You'll look more

like your father,

with a bigger nose

and smaller ears,

and you'll forget

what we had for breakfast.

One day soon,

I'll be shorter.

I'll still fit

just under your chin

(when your chin is tilted up)

and I'll look more

like my grandmother,

or that's what I think.

One day soon,

we'll be shorter

and softer,

like twin candles

lit forever,

and we'll shrink,

burning together,

until we're nothing

but drops of wax.


The Man


There's a man who lives

at the end of your walk--

He doesn't much speak;

he doesn't much talk--

but there's something inside him

that burns for your touch...

He wouldn't need love;

he wouldn't need much--

Just your hand on his elbow

or his on your arm

would fan out the flame

but still keep him warm.


for my love

"i and my annabel lee," i wrote

(about us, if you couldn't tell)

where i'm i and annabel smells like spicy boy from the country

(you, if you couldn't tell)

where i brushes her teeth before kissing him

before dancing with him in the kitchen,

glazed with rain water,

beside the white chickens

(the ones in the skillet, on the stove)

where annabel parrots her,

then hugs her

and refills her glass,

"whatever you say,

my darling girl,

my beautiful,


bonny sweetheart,"

where i loses every game they play,

but wins,

and annabel wins,

and later they hold hands,

"calm down,



it's okay,

(and it was)

you're okay,

(and you were)

(and i was)

we're okay,

(and we were)

i'm here,

i'm yours,

just breathe,"

and they're okay,

they're each others,

i wrote,

"i and my annabel lee."

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