Breadcrumb #530


I miss my father the most
when I'm hungover.
I want him to tell me it's okay
to be a mess,
to spend a day not knowing
if you want to eat the world
or throw it up,
crying at videos of kittens
rescued from garbage cans,
and then at yourself
for being the worst kind of sick,
the kind where no one
feels sorry for you.

 I want him to tell me
I'm not like my mother
who drank until
there was no one left
to tell her not to,
who drank until
my father stopped,
because one of them
had to be sober enough
to keep a baby alive.

 Last night, I sat on the sidewalk
outside of the bar,
head spinning, waiting
for my friend to pay.
A man walked toward me,
and I watched, paralyzed,
too fucked up to ask
what he wanted
or stop him
if it came to that.

 As he passed by
I thought of the book I was reading,
It by Stephen King,
how the monster takes the form
of its victim's greatest fear,
and scared myself.

• • •

Breadcrumb #529


The needs creep
like the crabgrass, emerald
puddles in the dying lawn,
or like the daisies
she planted years ago
which we kept stabbing
and which every spring
snapkick the mower.

I put my weight on
my strong leg and leap
to a head start: I’ll do
what I want before the needs
tug like gravity, a riptide
I paddle against and am
swept to sea, where I’m made
by the struggle, like a man

home from wars
and travels, babbling
monsters and nymphs,
witches and gods,
the crash of the surf like
a man wanting and deciding
the care of the world
is what needs to get done.

• • •

Breadcrumb #527


Does a thread care what the tapestry looks like?
It does feel the pull of the shuttlecock --

Our love for you holds the four of us together
Tight and wound -- as we are -- you bind us.

You take it as a given, this text I’ll tell you --
Our yarn, drawn from threads -- microscopic

Dyed some of us all one color, others bleeding
From brilliant to subdued, from the spindle to the shears.

This love, a single string woven through many,
Makes our fabric taut. Stretched across the loom, we vibrate

And which of us strings feels the cool rush,
The soft hissing of the three sisters’ scissors?

A sound that reminds me of waves caressing
A pebble beach; the rush of blood in my ears.

In the morning, in the hour before dawn
I feel my way to the bathroom, tense in my throat

To cough spittle and phlegm in the sink.
We two, entangled in the warp and the weft,

Are dual strands in the great web of purple linen
On which distant dreams are figured.

• • •

Breadcrumb #526


Lilac stalk’s a hail Mary in the dead of winter,
salve to all my copped promises. I drive, loping 
through spent apple orchards – snow collapses 
off shingles, trees shudder and unburden 
themselves,  but I am not like them – 
since you are gone I run hot.
My core, burnt honey that sings 
through me, ossifies. I show the man 
a picture of a flower you loved and apologize 
for its prettiness.  Want, 
in the dumb charge of grief, to feel 
each pluck, each singe and do.  I am 
mute,  my pain glacial and sharp 
as a scalpel.  Outside the people walk past, 
their toes clanging in frozen boots 
– I cannot go home. I watch purple bloom 
the blood at my wrist, bend my body tonic
to elegy. Caught in the back of my throat, 
a prayer for spring.

• • •