Selected Poems

Korean Pears

The Shore | Spring 2024

Cupped closely by the braided white netting that protects them from bruising, they squat on the shelf, awaiting her return. I’ve found just three at the market this time, each one golden, fat, and twice the size of my fist, skin speckled with pinpricks of a deeper brown. As a child she would sit patiently…

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I Eat My Words

The Sun | October 2023

Yes, it’s cruel. An unseemly gluttony.   Trapping the ortolan buntings, forcing  them to gorge in the dark, mouthfeel of seeds   their only comfort in that closed, blank space.    Drowned in amber brandy, plucked then roasted,  their tiny bones crunch softly in the mouth.  The smallish wings tuck along smooth, browned skin,  like stiff Olympic…

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Grief Cat

Prairie Schooner | Fall 2022

Circling the edges of these rooms,  he rubs the sides of his belly,   his fisted face on every vertical   plane—each wall and table leg,   each stair spindle—pretending  not to see me. Just when I forget  to look for him, when the folds  of my brain are fat with work   or I think I’m too tired…

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The Southern Review | Autumn 2022

“Orpheus,” she cried, “what madness has destroyed my wretched self, and you?” (Eurydice, The Georgics by Virgil) Step carefully, friends. Follow close at my heels. Trust me to hold back thorny stems that scratch shins, lift low, eye-gouging branches, sidestep loose stones and muddied holes threatening Dryad ankles. Do be careful; use your hands if…

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Sugar House Review | Summer 2022

Taking my order by phone, she asks me What do you look like? So I can find you? Except that’s not how she says it. Dropping words the way my Korean mother did, still making herself understood, she waits while I decide. Pausing, as I do, as I have done since the first time someone…

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Birmingham Poetry Review | Spring 2022

Following the light, their golden faces are, by sundown, heavy and low with cares. Still, I can’t tear myself away, not now. You’d say do it, run from this bright hot porch, this lovely field of sunflowers mocking you with their likeness, with their sacrifice. Mornings they are young and fresh, their tiny florets dripping…

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Guarding George Wallace

Blackbird | May 2021

One May day in nineteen seventy-two Arthur Bremer shot Wallace five times, a bullet lodging in his spine in such a way he’d never walk again. We know that Bremer was crazy, not a martyr for good. Here is madness where we crave reason, bald desire for fame where we’d prefer conviction. My father, twenty-five…

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Orion | December 2020

The wasps are dying in my son’s bedroom, and each morning I rush to collect them before he wakes and finds them on the floor. On my knees, cheek pressed to the thin woolen rug so I can see them at eye level, I pick them up by their wings, by a crooked leg, pinching…

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Four Way Review | November 2019

Looking down from my second story porch I see the flowering quince they say will thrive in almost any soil. This one is no doubt dead, though its faithful branches reach up and outward, insulting the brittle dry sticks that pin the massive bush to fertile ground. Watery red flowers the color of diluted blood…

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Bamboo Wife

The Southeast Review | Spring 2019

If one bright day you find yourself moving through the rooms of the Jeju folklore museum, you might pause at the domestic exhibits, wonder at the strange, closed basket as wide as a drum and as long as a yardstick. They call it “bamboo wife,” and carefully printed signs tell you that in warmer months,…

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