inside your roots

For my friend Elizabeth.
I remember sitting on the floor
in Orlando with you
playing cards
your sister nearby
our dreamer friends in a circle

you had sung that day
I’ve tried, I can’t remember the song,
but I do remember thinking
how much you sounded like hope
“like hope” is bad language in a poem
don’t use abstract concepts when you
should use an image
you sounded like the future
there I go again with bad language
for the third time you sounded like
a tree squeezing out green leaves
from somewhere deep inside your roots
like it was easy to sing
like you were made for it

and I know
dreams change

it’s been a few years since,
I think, you believed in a future
as a singer
but you still seem green
pushing out what’s inside
like Jesus and hope,
and in the end,
what’s that but music?



now I’m trying to hide how
hurt I am with more anger
trying to wrap my head around
the danger
of a broken syllogism
all family is forever
forever includes right now
right now there is no family
and it forms some kind of schism
oh, brother, where art thou?
what happened to this endless
loop of friendship we promised?
when did the rope fray
we told moms and uncles we’d
be beacons for coming home
sounding the call in the darkest
hours to lead the way
but when this track started to
skip we started to drift
and we pressed stop
just to satisfy the distance
and listen to the silence


Pretending There’s Glass



you don’t try to hide your breath on
a winter morning—it’s written into the air
I suppose, some things just are
so why hide this?
it’s okay, I can see,
your heart broke like a window
and you’re still pretending there’s glass
it’s okay
step on out, it’s not as cold as you may think
it’s not as cold as you may think