• Sock Puppet
They turned to face the bathroom mirror, as if taking the measure of their match as a couple. They turned to face each other again. They let a few more seconds pass. Then, “hello Sock Puppet,” Eva whispered. Sock Puppet took a moment to get his bearings, to find his voice. Then, “hello Eva,” he cooed. “Happy birthday.”
• By Proxy
She is a shrivel of a person in her 89th year and the reason for our visit, our mission to pull her out of the dregs of the apartment where she spends most of her time, watching the black and white Zenith through glasses that magnify and distort her eyes as big as tennis balls that serve well in her daily hobby of swatting away cockroaches she calls creeping things.
Poor aunt Rosa. She meant well, but what could she do? Only monsters gave birth to dead babies and drove their grieving husbands to drink. I wasn’t feeling better and was looking even worse. People avoided looking at me or making eye contact when they found out my story. Not Rosa.
• Tip of the Hook
Salvador caught a 1,050-pound tuna, and came home to Rikki with a check for $5,000 and the tail, but Rikki wasn't home. He dumped the tail, 35 inches from tip to tip, on the kitchen table.
• Ohio Portraits
He was my first love, though he loved a vague, squishy, happy, simple version of me, not the actual me. It was over. He was leaving to study Yiddish at a school in New York. We were spending a lot of time in a hazy soup of emotions and hormones; holding hands, referencing years-old in-jokes, staring at each other, sobbing in Taco Bell and Petsmart and on sidewalks.
... I have no visual memory of him when I was younger. His name was never mentioned at my house, but there were rolled eyes, unfinished sentences, and people speaking about “you know who.”
• The Encounter
Even from a distance I could see the man’s stained coat was open to the wind that tossed his straggling hair and beard. I hesitated for a moment, but when that same wind set the ends of my scarf whipping straight out in front of me I called out to the stranger.
• 24 Hours After a Tragedy
I have sweet dreams that night, until I’m as young as I feel. In this second life I'm getting ready for a party and I can’t choose between a navy cardigan and a purple one. My little sister does my eye make up. We fight and tease and blow bubbles in gum while I comfort her chocolate curls, cooing like a dove into her ear. Eyes open and I see sunlight and severed limbs. The sky is an impossible shade of blue.
The way winter twilight folds in upon itself,
Alien, as outcast crows huddling alee,
Cleaving between urban eaves and ledges
Against wind and cold. Day-dreaming maybe...
• Old Man
The old man in the park kisses
my hand and hands me his phone
number, the name of his train stop.
...But what love we made
on that last holdover morning,
a carnal vernacular
among colonial ghosts.
When She Went to Baba Yaga
my daughter forgot the doll I gave her
so she couldn’t sort the poppy seeds
or carry back a flaming skull
to light the house of her heart.
In the evening
at a cold bus-stop
a huge cat
drank all my love ...
Download a pdf of the entire chapbook HERE.