the breathing girl has died


she’s happy it finally happened
that she’s not coming home
that she’s collecting all the coal
that would have been diamonds


for the first time, good lord
thank goodness that phrase
isn’t pinned to all the
lost girls anymore, evermore!


for really reals this time
she’s not that stupid girl
full of shame sickles
but feverish to be living


in a real specific way
all atoms and cells
are deranged, or rearranged
just as they should be, anymore


like broken cemetery leaves
she dances in deep blood orange
not just another beauty queen
in fuchsia lipstick on an empty pew



for Real Toads


Katie’s ghosts

to sleeping babes
beneath our feet, —

it is better to have never
made your bed to lie in it
it is better to have never
been born then,
better to have never
known scratched up earth,
her poisoned, snappy seas,

it is better to have never
pressed in to ask what is grass,
what is green?

it is better to have never
known color
for now they dream drearily how
in their stolen pieces of time
before which was called
sky, not ceiling

(oh, but i’ve dared too much)

but you, –
happy stillborn seeds,
it is better to have never
slack-mouthed, sucked dry
every scarecrow teat

there’s no sleep babes,
there’s no sleep,
but we pray you, —
beneath our feet


3: NaPoWriMo and Real Toads

To Conclude

To conclude Angie,
stop your silly guessing
&over-analyzing. All in good time
it will be night, dear.
Your body will be parting.
Sleep; when the time draws near.
Rest your head &whisper, so long!
Perhaps soon there will be a triumph
wordless things.

for Real Toads

The Past Two Days in Reverse

Bury you under a tree
Remove you from the cardboard box
Why do we love so quickly?
Cry because we can’t save you
Dilated eyes, half a heartbeat
A vet combs through tortoise-shell fur
Taps lightly above each eye
0.8 ounces – A girl!
Try to drink water
Here’s a turkey baster,
Here’s a wet pinky finger
You sleep here on our hearts,
We drown/pick off fleas,
We wash you in Dawn dish soap
-Your eyes are open
We name you Felix or Ophelia
There you are under a tree

Dumb Dog

We avoid looking you
directly in the eye.
could instigate
a bite.
We watch you
come out from
your den
for ice cream, or
potato chips.
And every Spring,
like clockwork,
you’ll ask
what’s this all about,
this monstrosity.
You’ll beg us to
tell you why
you were born.
I’ll have a reunion
speech to rehearse
that very thing.
Your animal
ears will perk up,
which is a good sign,
but the dog that’s left
in you will say hunker down.
It can never be Spring.

Art credit to Karin Gustafson at Real Toads
My poem inspired by Annna Swir’s
Poetry Reading from her book,
“Talking to My Body”

Where This Is Going


Lost in Texas:
the Alamo,
my wooden wagon,
my first tooth,
my kindergarten teacher,
authentic refried beans,
my grandpa’s heart,
the only dog we ever owned–
Seen in photographs;
sometimes museums,
because people &things
have one fragile life.
One expectancy.


dead cat in a box

tiny jaw ghastly agape

–trash collection day


Number 6,500


November (Photo credit: Cape Cod Cyclist)

In The Scorpio Races, author Maggie Stiefvater writes, “It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.”  Give us the next thirty-three words of this story, as you imagine it.  Take it wherever you like, but make it original and make it 33 words exactly.  And so…

…someone will die…the alarm will go off at 6:01 am. Same as every other day.  To chase the chill, she’ll hold his hand, a hollow stone.  Like the other 6,449, he will die. Cause of death the same; not breathing.

My “original” piece focuses on the unoriginal.  If you’re inclined to read more creative takes, visit

Mother: A Ligo Haibun Challenge

Spring comes ’round again, as Monday follows Sunday, as law follows order. She waters the houseplants, gives her hair a once over with her brush, takes a phone call from me checking in. “I’ll be alright.”  She pulls a blouse and pair of slacks on to complement the gully greens. Algae sprouts infiltrate brown undergrowth beneath the kitchen window. Rain water comes, and has a way. Filling cracks, covering grievances, making the season tender. I find she’s left the front door unlocked. Napping with eyeglasses on. Mother’s barefoot. It doesn’t make sense. A cold kettle on the stove. Whistle-less. With little resistance, she’s straight as a board fresh-fallen from a barn before bark beetles come. Both spider-veined hands are serene by her side. Dicot leaves in a flower garden. Little beautiful bones. Church organ keys are depressed. 

haibun flower
a eulogy
for spring in sharp key~
i make more phone calls

Inspired by Ligo Haibun Challenge quote: “Perfect order is the forerunner of perfect horror.” -Carlos Fuentes haiku in conjunction with flatfroghaiku 🐸

Note to Mortician

Give. her. pink.
L’oreal celestial magic
Smooth soufflé #840.

Brush across the bridge
Of her nose, highlighting
The apples in her cheeks.

Reinstate warmth
Despite flushing winds,
Ghastly a moon.