poetry

ursula

the poet says “troy”

this reminds Ursula
of something

“god works in mysterious
ways”

“if I ever have a boy
I am going to name
him Troy”

she looks at me

“I have twins you know”

I do know this
because everyone knows this
I listen intently
perched on the edge
of a decaying
cafeteria chair

she continues

“they are girls”

“they are named after
bible characters”

I know more than she
offers

she doesn’t tell me that
the twin girls
named after bible characters
were taken last year
by a balding man
and his silent accomplice
conjoined grim reapers
c/o the department of social services

they were taken
because she lives
in a cardboard box
and does the things men ask her to do
in exchange for food and protection

she’s electric
a fallen powerline–
when I am near her
in a public library
9 am on a Wednesday morning a heterosexual woman
I think about
sex

she makes the men at our table nervous
with unflinching eye contact
and spaghetti straps
I watch them drown
in her flood

the man
who consumed her body

“Bobby Wilson”

gave her HIV
along with
those identical heartbeats
and was never seen
again

Alan says something now
he says

“what is going to be Troy’s
last name?”

everyone laughs
they know about
Ursula
they know about what she
does

“well I can tell you
one thing,
it sure as hell
ain’t gunna
be Wilson”

she laughs
and only
then do
I laugh

Standard
poetry

better in the dark

you are disney eyes
twin hummingbirds synchronized
swimming left to right
and back again

I am crisscross applesauce
tube socks and underwear
on a velveteen chair the color
of a dehydrated houseplant

we are buttery candlelight
a spotlight filtered with antique lace
the room explained in sequins
arranged by Pollack and Joyce

“go to sleep”

“you look creepy”

“ok ok”

we are one thing
baby hummingbird heart
drums a Las Vegas night club beat
into the curve that my stomach makes
when I exhale
that’s us
a wild combination
love is better
in the
dark

Standard
poetry

Natalia F.

oh Natalia
you are so lovely
I have to try
hard 
not to stare

I want to run
my fingers
over your face and
photograph your skin
in dappled
sunlight

If I were a boat
on stormy waters I
would reach my oars
out to you and
offer you my
rest

would you let me
wild haired lady?

or would the distant
calls of Michael Jackson
and whispers from
your telephone
beckon you out of
my safety net

I don’t think
I could ever
bottle up
your beauty

or

hold back
the force
of your current
with my noble
intent

until we are free
though
to walk on dry land
I just ask that
you let me touch
the hem of your garments
and breathe in
the space you
occupy
so gracefully

and pretend
that I’ve
pulled back the curtain
in your mind and
understood
what’s
inside

somehow

Standard