On a bench by a pond

Something about wet two-by-fours
feels like home.
Xe sits on a bench, wet from morning dew and mist,
on a boardwalk overlooking a pond.

Two mallards paddle in front of xem—
a slow game of tag or awkward flirting, xe aren’t sure.
Soft croaks from red-legged frogs emanate
from the kinnikinnik covering the ground.

Xe could breathe here.

Frost and Shadow

The frozen dew of February stands in the shadow of towering firs.

The sun rises slowly in the southern clouds, and shadows recede.

An edge of bright frost curves with the shadow along the shoulder of Kersey Way, not realizing it was time to go.

Daddy Warbucks; Or, Go in My Place

I get that my dad has to do all these stupid ceremonies;
he’s the king, la-di-da.
But, does that really mean I have to go to the things too?
It’s not my kingdom—
would it still be a kingdom if I ruled it? A queendom?

Anyway, I’m not the ruler;
I shouldn’t have to go
to this drawn-out, fuddy-duddy event
 to celebrate the bicentennial of some old tavern
with good hash browns.

‘It’s a landmark, blah blah blah,
good for the economy, blah blah blah,
boosts the morale of the citizenry, blah blah.
The optics, Aerith, the OPTICS.’

Can’t you go in my place?
You look just like me.
You just need to get up on the stage or whatever,
give some speech, point at that old dwarven guy, then leave.
Ten minutes, tops.

His council probably expects some gaudy centerpiece
for their table to project how important they are.
Forgot about that.
You can probably find something cheap at the market
if you hurry.

Orthopraxy; Or, A Mother’s Pain

I’ve haunted this temple
since the day you were born,
the day I died bringing you here.

I’ve hid behind alters and candle flames,
above rafters, under pews,
to watch you grow into a man.

I’ve tried to not interfere,
let you bloom like wild sage,
but sometimes I have failed.

I’ve never felt a pain—
while living, at least—
comparable to seeing you hurt.

Some Visions

In the canvas of the overcast sky,
there are blurry molecules or curly hairs floating.

Through a stye on the underside of my eyelid,
the streetlights look like they’re crying.

In the evening after a full day’s work,
trapped photons bounce around inside my eyelids.

Through dilated pupils after being prescribed readers,
the Christmas tree lights look like a wall of frozen explosions.

But before that

Inevitably, the universe will end; electrons will no longer spin around nuclei, and everything will stop.
 But before that, the Milk Way will be consumed by the blackhole at its core, leaving only void in its wake.
 But before that, the sun will swallow Earth as it grows into a red giant and explodes.
 But before that, living on Earth will no longer be sustainable; temperatures and sea levels will rise beyond the point of any coping mechanisms.
 But before that, you will die; a small tragedy on the scale of things, but a tragedy nonetheless.

who cooks for you? who cooks for you-all?

old north wind
rattles leaves from their stems
grey feathers
line my jaw and ears

who cooks for you?
who cooks for you-all?

full moon rises
my talons itch
i call out to the shadows
only hear echos

who cooks for you?
who cooks for you-all?

a splash near the riverbed
a bob of an alder branch
a twitch in the undergrowth
a corpse by the highway

who cooks for you?
who cooks for you-all?