Hymn of the Rescinded Daughter

I stepped into the room of stone.
I stepped onto the mark
I stepped upon the soiled throne
Whence rained around me sparks

Whence walls ignited, white as fear
My limbs, enthroned, went slack
Skulking vernacular pricked the ears
‘fore silence barked forth black

And whilst I clench myself to stone
And whilst I grit to life
A regent kin emblazoned bone
Now bellows charring art

Thee, in-furling shards of truth,
Are blemished from within
I ache to flare these injured texts
To sear in script
your every sin.

Meticulous Landscaping: A Sonnet*

Here in the passenger side lie Wendy’s bags crumpled by boots
The gentle pungent mulch compacts beneath each nail
Picking at the leather seats to stroke the tattered brail
And decode Dad’s lesson of the day like stringed stray roots:
Roots you tossed mulch over, the mornings of summer through July.
Disembarking the diesel F450 with silver smokestacks,
You’re mapping on your hands the clay-dried, thorn-bruised cracks
Wiping the Wendy’s grease on your sister’s off-brand “Nike” slacks
Step out into the cicada-thick air where, like Wendy’s, you fry.
You let the grass prick your bare calves and adjust in the sticky bed
Wiping soil across your forehead, swatting away flying things
And quietly recoiling from the grubs unearthed as dad sings,
Something he beat-boxed under his breath about marriage and rings-
Wash your hands in the cold hose-water until they turn Wendy-hair red.

*This poem was featured on the Cornell University Press blog for National Poetry Month, and can be found here under the following tags: civil rights, gender, national poetry month, poetry, women’s studies




When I sit straight at this white page

I am crisp. Taut

Like a bright paper crane.

Edges and flat cuts, the folds

Of theater flyers

And wrinkled tape- Smashed against

Windows on the wavy interior

Of thick pop restaurant glass in the

Rain-gloom TV static New York,

A child passes

Brushes a hand across the glass numbly

Fleeting away like the touch-down-fly

Birds I remember from my old house,

Fat and impossibly light

From between the French doors against where

I could never catch one fully in my eye.


It means that I’m expired. That

I succumbed to myself a relentless

Generator pulsing out black tick marks and headaches

And disappointing sketches, smearing

The walls of each tiny white room that

I find in the crumpled in-jams

Of contracting origami.