having a weird day and just writing????… :

You sit behind my eyes and say nothing. You move

this hand

with your silver offerings, bring air into this
mouth, and still
I don’t feel, but maybe

I sense a tiny dancer spinning
again and again at the front of my skull
sharp bones a diamond
drill piercing, feet through

rock, the planet
weight at her

looks at me with pale eyes and
something that might be
/trapped/ or maybe
/lost/. I glance
again and she turns
to salt, white
and crystalline
and smelling of ocean

night air in the atrium of my heart
wet and warm
and sharp.
Open my abdomen

and pull out the carcass
of a baby whale, rotting,
mother’s milk sour
on swollen lips, seabirds

pulling flesh from the frame of her

growing round and
screaming happy
fog of wings
swirling through the stench of her.
they look
like dancers, carry
sky out of the broken
middle of me. a girl

walks by and vomits saltwater
looks deep into me and says

I’ve always known I would drown.

stung justwrite

Jellyfish bloom in the Chesapeake in August like the peonies in your memories, follow the salt up from the ocean when it doesn’t rain. I remember the first dorsal fin of a dolphin I saw surface by the marshes–I thought my eyes were dreaming, like seeing a lemon yellowing in the sun on our blueberry bush. Where did this come from? and my stomach turning over and over the way it does when you’re out of my sight. I got lost in the aquarium aisle of a super walmart when I was a girl, didn’t notice how much time had passed because the fish tossed themselves back and forth in front of me like jewels under the moon, guppies flashing the red of their throats, one grey starfish with a million tiny limbs moving as the stars do–drifting so slowly they might be frozen but if you fall asleep they’re gone before you open your eyes. I think I may be moving like this, or else I have delusions of stardom, see myself bright, see myself in this constellation, think someone is down below drawing lines to give me meaning, but maybe I’m a dead log in the Chesapeake, hundreds of tentacles brushing across. I look up and the sky is crowded with jellyfish. They open like the harvest moon, round as your mouth when you whisper “Tuesday” or “spool” or “love.” I want to teach you how to see these words like I do but I open my palms and only find lemon peels shrinking into their yellow, shriveling like a child stung, poison under her skin. You turn around and I can’t see what surprises you. I look up and don’t know if the stars are coming or going.

things inside of mouths justwrite

My throat tastes yellow and slimy, the underbelly of a salamander hugging the side of Pine Mountain. I ask why you call it that when the sparse virginia pines are shadowed by endless oaks and birches. You try to speak but your mouth overflows with yellow jackets woven together, a carpet of motion vibrating against your vocal chords–

sounds like singing, sounds like the ghosts of trains crooning up from the valley. I start to say “home,” but my tongue is stumped by the word, my eyes fluttering, a moth in the dark with nowhere to land. Our bodies are filled with things that have both wings and legs–

most days I feel I have neither, only two small arms with two small hands clutching over and over at the air. They try to fly away but are tied to my spine, crumbled column down the middle of me, growing roots that I rip up when they urge me to sleep, to land on a soft pine branch in a birch’s shadow. “Please, call me home. Tell me what you love.” My tongue is the smooth underbelly of a snake, sneaking through the leaves without a sound but one slow whisper that might be the wind.

bottle walls

She lived in a house paneled with beer bottles. She used them like mirrors, her reflection stretched at the edges, mutant body, oblong and crooked and stained. I licked the back of her neck and tasted soot, my tongue a black snake easing its head out of the snow. She told me she’s afraid of what’s outside, that it lurks behind the bottles and breathes smoke into her eyes when she tries to see past these walls. The whole of her crumbles to ash before she stops speaking. I try to catch her in my hands but they look like I’ve been smoothing the wings of moths, streaked with grey but still as empty as ever. She leaves her heart unburned on the floor in the center of the room. There are no lights here and I’m afraid to step on it, trembling mouse in the dark, small and warm and breathing, so I stay in one place, pretend I am a tree with roots, pretend the sun can sneak between these brown bottles, pretend I will ever grow.

far from here

what is from from here?

the walls of the closet where christine and i drew spiderwebs and wrote about love and the backstreet boys
the crest of my brother’s shoulders, spine bent at the top, this boy who hasn’t learned to be as tall as his body yet

I think of my mother’s eyes, too much shadow to know their color, and the way her breath used to settle like a dove resting heavy in a nest lined with pine needles.
I smell pine and think of loss,
of the sharpness when I realize you’re not standing next to me. You ask me where my home is. My mouth is too stuffed with pine needles to answer, needles ever sharper, weaving themselves in and out of my skin.


Here is my heart.
Here is my heart.
There it goes — there it goes.
Don’t turn away…

Sometimes I sit here so long I start to believe
I’m stone
one grey statue in a silent room, four walls
tall and straight.
I have shadows passing through
me at every moment, bruising
my eyelids with their heavy
footsteps, walking and
walking until all of me begins to chip.

I will never move–
I say that but it doesn’t stick.
Soon I crumble
dust on the floor
walls still straight up–
all eyes ahead.

mountain justwrite

You held both my hands in yours and told me I’m an acorn. There was such sadness in your eyes. You held me in your heart and your bloodstream tasted like mountain mornings. I found a lizard smaller than my thumb once. She was pausing on a rock and looking up toward the sun. I held her in my hand and she said, “You are so, so big.” I’ve never been a song, but if I was I think the tree crickets would be louder than me. They would play me at funerals while families talk to each other about solid mahogany coffins with no nails. But I am not a song, and the wind can break me into pieces sometimes when the night is quiet and I remember your voice and I wonder why I ever wanted to be left alone.