Ormond Loomis is So Beautiful

             I hear Barbara say, “Ormond Loomis is so beautiful” in the other room,
but when I go to see what she means, I realize she has said, “Your poem
             is so beautiful,” and not to me but someone she is talking to on the phone.
The less I know, sometimes, the better—to have no appetite for this world,
             then devour it. On March 29, 1832, Ralph Waldo Emerson visits the tomb

Sister Triptych


Loose, I wear three keys on a chain, stems
that clatter as I walk the grounds. I scare up
small brown birds. The metallic rattle I make
is thick with the heft of doors hewn from heavy wood.
What woman hasn’t practiced being kept, sister?
We learned young to listen at the cracks, to press
an ear against the gilded vent.



(Originally published in Banana Palace—Copper Canyon Press, 2016.)

She had a parched heart, Araneus Illaudatus.
She had a name
               in her own tongue, wasn’t
a Roman Senator, wasn’t

                  with a rocking-chair and corn-cob pipe―

               could true her name, she was

               wholly alien―

A fanged knob, body
               big as my thumb―

               to the first joint.

The Street Is a Museum

And all my shoes are anarchists wanting
real skin—Mine is the face that holds
breakable bones. My interiors, a church
of hothouse moans and old cassette tapes—
saddest ballads shimmed from the knives
of old boy friends, plastic strands lulling
the past tense into birds’ nests. This body
is a machine gone mad. Smelling of hot
donuts, now I’m the vendor out of luck
on the coldest night. Each breath convoked
by human voices, awoke my ancestors.
We barred the doors—We danced til dawn,
watched God choke on the marrow


(Originally published in Orange Crush.)


Trouble came and trouble
brought greasy, ungenerous things:
poke root and bladderwrack,
chalklines in bloody bedrooms
and black reptilian bags
smelling of acetylene.

Trouble came and trouble sang
shush-shush or tell-tell
for I alone will break your bones
as he bedded down for winter
in a small small town,
smelling of cabbage and tripe
where eight black chickens
wandered the street.

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