My heart shatters / with each possibility, adding to the roadside debris / something less reflective than fiberglass / but just as sharp.
Given there is no language that can translate an invisible hurt / Prove the creation of a separate self neither addressed nor acknowledged.
You can freeze if you want / let your sour stomach / eat the sky / gray it into something dim. / Or you can smolder / like wood without name / into something pure and empty / a ribcage without lungs.
The virus and the tumor are the stillborn children of three discarded words—the inspector traces these with her thumb as a sky becomes the column of shattered embers . . . Yes, it did.
White bread sandwiching pickles and snoot. The nostrils, twin commas. Looks fine, no bristles. If I blink, the clouds in the afternoon sky spell shapes. “Tell me what this tastes like,” you say. “Eat it yourself.” The bite heats an oily whisper.
Forget about him. / White dobok, white dhee. Even Sabumnim was a white belt once. / Nobody expects anything from a white belt, but it’s the best place to begin, to learn to fight back. Get in the sparring ring. Kick. Surprise them.
if i do not carefully open my jars / i will overspill / and lose myself
The actress wraps a blanket around / the actress’s curled body. / Flood watches the actress and the intertitles. / The story is in the folds. / The actress’s hand pulls the blanket over / the remaining exposed body. A familiar shape, / a black and white S lies on the bed.
I come from a long line of arsonists, she tells me. The kerosene can of her vapors through her nose. Tell me more, I say. But she falls silent. No, her lips seem to insist. Never. She handstands on the sun-baked lawn and walks towards me, pouring what’s left of her out.
Lightning in the ground: / sparks from grass when / he ran from his parents’ car / to the front door, slight halos / around each daffodil lining / the steps.
It’s been twenty years now, and you’re still somewhere in the air of that September. Still a rope of smoke frozen mid-curl over the mountains.
I wake up in the middle of the night / my sister, Karen, stands in the darkened kitchen / fully dressed, hands in her jean pockets, swaying back / & forth back / & forth like a wraith // I ask her why she didn’t wake me / & she says I don’t know—am I awake
I have sent another shard to my mother. Maybe she will call and the machine will record her voice while I pretend to be busy. She is going to die soon.
She has departed on the 501 and her return is merely a blip of recognition from dime-store binoculars. You are lost in some sea and that blip might be land, island, archipelago, or a blip of no consequence: A gull diving for plankton. The tail of a fish trying to fly.