don’t get me wrong, but who told you there’s always time?

Burning Broom

don’t get me wrong, but who told you there’s always time?

kisses blown across the room
in the morning after coffee is drunk
and my face is glazed with warpaint –
face the day –
say goodbye –
walk out the door.

I can’t remember
the last thing I said to you.

it couldn’t have been that long
since you kissed me
for real …
was it yesterday?
was it last week?
I don’t know.
was it tomorrow?

God, I hope so.


3. chills
fighting this thing inside you
I touch your skin
chills run up my arm
while you sleep.
my voyeurism,
eavesdropping on your dreams,
on your fears,
sopping them up like gravy
with a crust of bread
after the meal is finished.

the flames inside me
are not extinguish by fire hydrant blasts.
if I open my eyes
too wide, too fast,
will the nictitating membrane,
that third eyelid,
slide closed –
summoned by a thousand
tiny, raised arm-hairs.


did you call the doctor yet?
at the appointment, his words
melted like chocolate ice-cream
dripping from the corners of his mouth.
I asked questions, but wanted answers
to what I didn’t ask.

after they took you back
and dressed you in a blue paper hat and gown,
I joined the women,
not yet widows,


diagnosis – I know it’s not a death sentence
It seldom is at the beginning.
we are born with a stopwatch
ticking off seconds
in a race that runs
on and on and on.
your children and my children and their children
will take the baton from our hands.


desire – I know it’s not a death sentence
it be that you just can’t hear
the chimes that ring
when you see my silhouette
a wavering shadow
before winter’s fire. 


age – I know it’s not a death sentence
but maybe something dies
before my body is committed,
before the sour smells of old age
overtakes my seasons in the red tent
where girls become women,
bleeding and washing and bleeding,
before the moon stops beaconing
and the stars are only lights in the sky,
maybe then. 


reptile eye
I must have inherited
that nictitating membrane
from the reptiles I evolved from –
that third eyelid slides closed
to filter out the pain
and separate you from me.


I still cry in my sleep
you thought it was because I grieved
the passing of my mother
and the rending of my children from me,
packing each and every memory
into cardboard boxes in the basement.

but my fate is to grieve
for what I have not yet lost.


First Published in Hags on Fire