Bring me your pain, love. Spread
it out like fine rugs, silk sashes,
warm eggs, cinnamon
and cloves in burlap sacks. Show me

the detail, the intricate embroidery
on the collar, tiny shell buttons,
the hem stitched the way you were taught,
pricking just a thread, almost invisible.

Unclasp it like jewels, the gold
still hot from your body. Empty
your basket of figs. Spill your wine.

That hard nugget of pain, I would suck it,
cradling it on my tongue like the slick
seed of a pomegranate. I would lift it

tenderly, as a great animal might
carry a small one in the private
cave of the mouth.

- Ellen Bass, “Basket of Figs” (via iameatingpoetry)

(via commovente)



Death is coming
and you must build a starship
to take you to Venus.

Make it from a catsup bottle,
a flashlight coil,
a penny, the cat’s bell,
Mom’s charm bracelet.

They say that planet is torment,
whipped by circular wind,
choked in vitriol clouds.

But no. When you get there
it is a light in the sky
and I am with you.

If you find nothing else,
borrow the pleated wing
of a winter moth,
lighter than dust.


Funny, when your brain is intent on writing one thing and you heart knows so much better. Your heart says to your brain, those poems aren’t important, these are the poems you need to be writing.

poem life poetry personal

Detox, In Three Parts


To My Father


I do not understand the language

of the place you now inhabit.

You have claimed citizenship

to a country of ghosts,

of strange voices and hands in the dark.

I should walk beside you,

but I have no map

and those thick woods frighten me,

so I stand at a distance.

I am not proud of this,

I know they frighten you too.


The you I clung to as a child is gone,

but I can’t seem to let him go.

Standing under the soft spray

of our favorite waterfall,

I think they must’ve already called you.

I was young and didn’t recognize

and even now it is difficult to see

the truth of who we are.

I am not a little girl in your arms

and you cannot ignore

that country any longer.


How do we stop our hands from shaking?

How do I see the man you are

and not the memory I hold?

How do we find a way through

that foreign country

to a place where we are

whole and unhaunted?



To My Mother


How do you carry it,

this weight I cannot measure?

Not for lack of lifting

or because I did not feel

its heaviness in my arms,

but because I do not understand

the units it is marked in.

What secret math do you speak

and what are your shoulders made of

and what creature is it

that guards your heart so fiercely

from the lumbering weight

that stumbles darkly around your borders?


I would ask you to teach me,

but I suspect it is a system

I cannot learn. I suspect,

you would sigh and square yourself

(as I often do)

and say I must create my own.

You have spent years becoming skilled

in this art, this very particular love,

while I have only just accepted its existence.

Only now recognized

the way it changes shape

from man to something unfamiliar,

foggy. I still shy away,

recoil from its unknown.


I will pull on heavy boots

and mimic your steady step into the woods.

I will place a loyal dog at my door

and listen to the unknown of that fog

until I no longer shrink away.

I will learn the language of this new system

hold your hand as we walk,

trying not to quiver.



What I Should Have Said


We are not ghosts.


We are not ghosts

and you are not on that ship

there is no crew,

except the nurses outside.


I wish this was some bad dream,

but I can’t wash that room

off my skin or the smell,

awful sick smell,

from my nostrils.


Where have you been?

It was your voice,

but it was not you.

I can’t remember

the last time it was you.


I’ve been driving around in circles,

choking back fears

that this will get so much worse

and this song

never meant anything before.

I feel sick.


How dare you.

I did not agree to this.


I am not a child so, please.

Stop avoiding the subject

or assuming that I know

what’s going on because

I have no fucking clue

and I feel so small.


This room makes you look

so small, look your age,

and we’re throwing around

words like “psych ward”

as if they do not sting,


so which pair of shoes would you like

and do you need a sweater,

can I bring you an ipod?


Every haphazardly discarded bottle

is an old wound reopening.

I did not agree to this,


but neither did you

and I miss you too much

to stay angry.

When are you coming home?

draft poem life personal poetry