invented languages
             after diane seuss 

i open my mouth & a bucket 
of ice comes out. there must be a way
to admit i was once a paper bag
full of ripening bananas. 
take all the trips you want,
your belly button will still 
be waiting like a push-pin. 
when i sleep on your tongue i always hear
exactly what you really wanted to say
which was, "i love you too,
i love you too, i love you too."
why do we deny ourselves the sugar bowl?
instead i take the ice & make
a dialect only we will understand.
here is your tall glass of lemonade. here
is your summer. let's not be hasty though
there is time to come to dislike
each other's breath. for now,
let's be the lexicon of dust.
from between my teeth a new thread
emerges. one i can use to tie 
all the birds to the ground for the night.
under this moon, no words will go missing.
we will remember every ocean 
we've ladeled fish from to make
children out of. i want again
the kind of speech 
the burns down row houses.
dark of a good collision. 
do you really want me to talk?
because i will talk & talk until 
i am deep in the tongues of moss
& soil & water & you will be there
wondering about how i heard your dreams
so loud & clean. i have a daguerreotype
of all your musings. you eat ice
with your fingers.


parking lot sea gulls outside china king buffet

today the earth is a powdered donut.
throwing watermelon rinds at the sun
to worship. we come to reclaim the wild
of an afternoon. i come barefoot
to the broken glass. a tea bag in my mouth
painting my soul amber. the bread comes
presliced. communion is communion is communion.
contential breakfast served for everyone
with a pair of headlights. the daughters 
are birds & they don't take no for an answer.
all my genders turn unruly. whatever we must do
to secure the dumpster when the celebrations
have turned to funeral pyres. 
i count birds until my fingers undergo 
mitosis in the process. we come to catelog
each others dreams. i am hungry 
in a way only the birds know. their ocean is
a jello tray. their mothers, garbage 
& junk & unwanted skulls. this is where
i come from: cementeries beneath cementeries.
an antenae picking up the video games 
of whales. signals from alien spaceships 
unsure of where to land. the open sign says,
"here is where you can feed your monsters."
there is no where to park because 
dinosaurs are roaming across all the spaces.
neon promised atrician. i dwindle
in the way the human tail did. less & less
until it was just a comma on a life.
let's eat all we can. 


trophy maker's lover

some nights when we cross pathes 
in the wild dark of our home
i see him as the golden man,
the statue atop a parade of pillars
& glitter. what does it mean
to be triumphant? he kneels
in the shadow of his idols.
moves thumbs smoothly across 
stickers. presses down glue
for plastic shards of joy. 
his creations are usually sold 
in bulk. colonies of golden men
& women. every so often
he makes a trophy that he loves so much
he cannot part with. then, it stands
in the corner of our room
keeping vigil over the talk
of old lovers. we met years ago
when the moon was still canteloupe.
now, i worry i am feasting 
on plates of ice cubes. 
there are always victors. more
& more. children & men & girls 
& people with hungry faces.
all the houses where my lover stands,
a golden man atop a temple.
always, he is telling them,
"look how worthy you were."
is it selfish to want him
all to myself? his study thumbs.
we drink each other dry.
turn out the light. his knees.
my shoudlers. the night's archetecture.
i want to whisper to him,
"tell me i am someone. not with
plastic gold but with your mouth." 



of course i am haunted by
the tombs of kings. 
their golden bounce castles 
& jupiter guitars & bones
of all their lovers
as if you could
hold on tight enough
to make the big dark television
forget to reap you.
i am a disciple of too-much-ness.
give me a graveyard of silver shoes 
or a wall of carnival masks
to try on. we go to the goodwill again
because it is raining & we are dragons.
what keeps me alive is the thought
that treasure will give me a place
to hold my heart for the night.
it always is seeking a new nest.
i do not know
what taught me this kind of longing. 
i do not think of it as
"filling a void" but rather as
"giving the void a home."
i had a lover once 
with clean empty walls 
in her apartment. i thought,
"this person is too alive 
for me." she had a land line.
she ate kneeling on the floor.
i never saw her again.
but even the animals 
can be like me. i found once
in the deep forest 
a nest of bells. how the bird
must have harvested 
these little voices. 
am i a tomb then? or else maybe
like the bird
just a nest
a hoarder of bells?


pie lattices for an abandoned life 

i folded our escape ladder 
from dough. all the bakers 
were smoking on their porches 
& dreaming of their mothers.
an oven is not a destination,
it is a tongue. an airport. 
strip malls & diners flicker there.
wooden knuckles. laying hand
over hand over hand. i used to
capture doves to sell them
to the moon for their paleness.
bird eyes in a bowl alongside jewels.
haven't you ever bitten into 
a piece of cake & found
the baby? right there with his face
a cathedral? where we lived
there were bars on the windows.
security systems with names like
"haven" & "vigil." don't you remember
how i would hold your hand 
& feed you blueberries 
until you were sick? no?
or was that another lover?
it is a shame to lose track
of your own skin. i want someone
to love me enough to weave 
a blanket. once, my mother made one
& i lost it in a fit of yolks.
what i am trying to say is 
there wasn't enough rhubarb
or strawberries or peaches.
there wasn't enough blueberries 
or apples. we had to eat 
one another. the bakers are
still smoking on their porches.
bells ring to signal the death
of another day. nothing is lattice 
at least not tonight. 
i kiss you only when 
you are not looking & you
do the same to me.


house wife

i put gender in the casserole dish tonight.
then, my heart is in the crock pot if you want
a taste of museums. tell me what a windowsill is for
& i will tell you where the space shuttles 
launch from. in the television room
everyone floats two inches off the ground
but i am the only one who notices. 
mine is a gender of vigils. of noticing 
where my body is asked to move. microwave children
with their steam laden faces. when the mailbox
is decapitated by a neighbor boy 
with a baseball bat, i stand in the yard
mouth open, waiting for the world to come.
a door has little to do with the inside
& more to do with that is on its way. 
when dealing in hauntings, it is best
to light a candle or a match & not a flashlight.
i fill the nursery with bananas & telephones.
someone will call soon. someone will be sweet soon.
let's not be afraid of the next gender 
walk into. instead, let us feast on soup bones.
let us wait for everyone to vanish
into their hungers. car horn. dimes. then, we will 
go to the basement to feed the beast.
fingers like dolies. a house dress. apron.
wooden spoon pounding against the wall
all on its own. it's craving salted water. pasta.
meatloaf. lover. lurid. fork scraping teeth. 



throwing stones at the neighbors house
they turned into flip phones.
once i texted scripture to my boyfriend
& he told me he wanted to be 
turned into a statue. we were children
in the petrified forest where all the trees
wore their used-to-be through & through.
my fingers fell off one by one.
i begged my father to make it stop
but he was already a stump. colors of
moss & amber in his face. i love to sit 
on his back & think about perminance.
the moon grew a lush beard & refused to shave.
i have become more & more interested 
in learning what remains after transformation.
is the old me inside a box somewhere
for a future scientist to say,
"yes here is a fragment" or is the tree
living inside the stone. was the tree
always a stone? i don't know what i would gain
by knowing most answers but there is a 
pizza delivery car with it's blinkers on outside
& i need someone to come & deliver a past to me
just like this. i just want to know
if my bones once housed moss & lichen
& if maybe they will again. we walked
in the forest & the forest was the inside
of everyone's chest. was a glove box. was a telephone. 
to be a creature is to go this between. 
between now & then. between bones. ribs. 
through femurs & trees.


baby socks

will i ever be small enough
to fit inside your pocket dimension?
i have been eating from the garbage bin
all week & i discovered a photo album 
of lover on the beach. this is where
it all goes, right? to the stomach
of a wandering monster. i do not wish
i wasn't human. i'm not human.
i don't understand baby socks.
a better use for those little pieces 
of fabric would be to house lost eyes.
once i lost an eye & i had to dig
in the yard for years. finally i unearthed
the little marble only for it turn 
into a prism, catching every rainbow.
now, i see oil spills. i see jellyfish weddings
& festivals of birds. i do understand
wanting to be cradled. i want to go
to the biggest tree i can find
& say, "could you open your arms
for one last time for me." my heart
is a place for bees. honey sick.
the winter will thin me to the width 
of an envelope. don't count on me
to be here when the garbage men come.
we are enemies from a distance.
they remove & i fill & fill. 
in the end, i am the guilty one. 
the one filling baby socks with eyes
& stealing for the smaller planets.
eating the rind of a soured watermelon 
until i am glimmering full
of the fruit's black eyes. 


prom night

i was a blue bird inside the television.
all of us with our photography desires.
my friend who played piano as we ate cheese
in plastic dresses. a match stick burned
all night. when we kissed they were like
fruit snacks. pressing your shape
into that of a cartoon grape. i was never
so greedy as that honeydew. your fingers 
as horses. the fields outside town 
were full of our shoes. so so many shoes.
you scooped me up & we got married 
but only in the eyes of the foxes. 
forks scraping plates. a chaperone who
followed us into the mouth of the cave.
i was not in love with you. i wanted to be you.
i wanted to be the boy inside a corsage.
pin in my mouth. posing for the title sequence.
i stood alone in the bathroom looking at
my scattered eyes. all over the ceiling.
all over the stall doors. a boy there
in the girls room & i thought, "am i also?"
bowling balls hurled from your roof. 
to be young is to not know you are young. 
the scrap book will say we were finite
& somehow also infinite. my socks in the creek
your camera roll under the dead oak tree. 


grave tending

i pull the weeds out of the keyboard.
draft an email to god in which i tell him
we should be allowed to choose
the mug our spirit goes into.
that is the only explanation i can think of
for how many coffee mugs exist 
in our house. they are the returned spirits
of revenge seekers. i buy weed killer
& spray a sigil into the lawn.
now there's a portal to hell. 
portals are not all they're cracked up to be.
mostly, i just watch as whales come
& go from the soil. sigh. if only
i owned a graveyard. i would go out there
every day & read to the dead. i would say
"story time" & bring the hungry caterpillar
or maybe where the wild things are.
all ghosts are bisexual. it's just a fact.
i get on my knees. fake flowers
are the highest dishonor you could give
a loved one. i yank them from the throat
of a tombstone. what the dead need
are graphics cards & motherboards.
they want to play computer games. they're bored.
if you're going to go with flowers
you have to plant them. you have to 
push their baby toes into the soil
& say, "make the dead happy." overall, the dead
are not happy. many of them hoped
for an afterlife & all they get is
the kind of lingering that a july storm leaves
in the minutes after it stops. 
sticky. humid. but never ending.
i tell them, "i am here" 
& "i am your mother now." yes,
i would be a great grave tender. 
the television is full of eels. i flick it on
to watch a video of myself falling asleep.
do you feel like a game inside a game?
i do but i shake it off 
& eat some microwave vegetables & 
kick my shoes off by the door.