I am sinking quietly
under the waves as
you sink beside the
bunk beds in your
room. One misstep and
I fell right off the dock.
I'd only meant to
dip my toes in, but
you know how it goes.
You sank beside the
bed when I opened
my stupid fat mouth.
I asked, "How much
time do we have?"
and I guess you
thought I meant together.

Did you know
the number thirty-seven
is the numerical
value of "I
am" in Hebrew?
There are thirty-seven
years left, or days,
or moments,
because with you
time passes too slowly
and too quickly, all at once,
and so I never know where I stand.
Thirty-seven minutes still
unwatched in this film
before you kick me out.
We're hushed, but your
friends are not. They seem
to know an awful lot.
They're giving us the
clamorous treatment, and
though I wish they were wordless
I know what would happen
if we were in relative silence
for the next thirty-seven minutes.

(I'd open my mouth
and water would rush in,
and the last of my breath,
It would rush
from the confines
of my mouth,
carrying words--
and, indeed,
even my breath adores you;
not much about me can resist.
I would drown
surrounded by the questions
I can't bring myself to ask.
But your friend danced.
I watched her;
she swayed
when the music played,
and my eyes followed her
but not because
my heart had strayed.
Could you feel
the absence of my eyes?
Could you tell
I was trying not to drown?)


of course it wasn't an open casket ceremony--who were we to bury an empty box?
but of course that was what we were doing.
our selkie girl, singing on the sea,
and us left on land and told to leave her be.
the village hoisted the heavy wood up
and lowered it into the hole
and waited for the coffin to shatter.
but the hollow crack of wood,
high like a bow breaking at sea,
helpless like a shipwreck,
the noise we all expected to hear,
never came.

father poured the first handful of dirt,
and we shoveled the rest in,
and made sure to mark the grave

with fire.


the mule never marries the mule never marries the mule never marries the mule never marries the mule never marries the mule never marries the mule never marries the mule never marries the mule never marries the mule never marries the mule never marries the mule never marries.

a burden shared is a burden halved
and the mule is meant to carry so the mule never marries.

but i could marry you.
the sickness of love sits
lazy in my knees.
fat and swollen with all the ways you could love me.
i was designed to lift it,
built to hold someone else's sadness.
there is no better place than here for it.
i am sturdy and simple,
stocky and strong.

and so your burden is given over to me
and i give myself to carrying
so i will never marry.
so we built the coffin and
dug the grave and
picked the flowers and
wore our best clothes to
the best day of her life.
it is three twenty-one ante meridian and
i cannot

give me cracks in my fingertips,
bruises on my thighs,
a sore throat and a sigh.
anything to prove that you were here, once,
and that you're coming back.
i miss the way you feel in my lungs.
i miss the fire that licks at my skin,
hot, hungry,
and i miss the swoop in my stomach
easy like a roller coaster,
lasting like death.
i miss permanence in transience and
how you felt in my arms and
the way words used to tumble out and
being able to begrudge you this.
she wasn't breathing
but they couldn't find anything wrong
all her vitals were fine--
until they checked her pulse at her neck,
rather than her wrist.

eventually she found the ocean again.


the clock is sick with activity.
i check it far too often,
like an old suicidal friend.
i'll never see the end of it but i always expect to.
instead i watch my shoes,
and cross my arms,
defensive of the time.

sour, ample, the fruit bursts over my teeth,
pushing, racing to the end
bile heavy in my stomach, on my tongue,
to the ground.
i can't help the way the words flush under my skin
and beat their way across my lips.
i am proud of my memories,
of the curve of your cheekbone.

the puppet ran over the hills
and stomped his feet.
the child drank the water we gave her.
the man forgot the woman,
and the woman forgot, too.
nothing could compare to you.

tell me again
about the child
who could think it was beautiful
and the poem that doesn't know itself.