Selected Poems

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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Sting

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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Ride Along

Birmingham Poetry Review | Spring 2020

Before you were born, before I carried your boy body suspended in the loam-scented   liquid, my swelled belly serving as your home, before I consented to your father’s wish   to be your father, before I abandoned my oft-stated desire to be a mother   to no one (or if to someone then to…

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Collateral

Seneca Review | Spring 2020 50the Anniversary Edition

Let me begin by saying I love them all. The tall girl with big shoulders two rows up, her Adidas shoes white and new. In the seat behind me, the prattling boy whose mother, doubtless, fears the pressure already thumbing his tiny eardrums, the pink cochlea as yet untested. I love the pilot, whose words…

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Cooper’s Rules

American Journal of Poetry | January 2020

I. “All guns are loaded.” Except for this: as soon as you realize that some guns are not, you let your guard down. And before you know it a loaded gun slips into the mix and you find yourself in real trouble. Say the gun is sexy and shows some real talent. Maybe its lines…

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Untenable

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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Steady Girl

The Cortland Review | October 2019

They say the best ones stay forever, no matter how skittish, how wild-eyed and restless their stall mates, the horses they’re meant to calm. Entering the pen, the goats draw out the twitching dark poison, work quietly to free mile after mile of glistening horsehide from the hard tug of fear and longing, the animal…

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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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Confession

The Arkansas International | Spring 2019

A man I admire, a good man, asked me Are you a nun, too? and I thought of all the mornings, what a question to ask! It was a natural one, given that we share an acquaintance, a nun I told him we both know. But on this morning I laughed too loudly with an…

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Virginia is for Lovers

Little Patuxent Review | Winter 2017

(after Henri Cole) How long will it be before I start feeling like this place is our home? Before the strange corners squatting in this house stop gouging my hips. Before our neighbors quit bringing us bread and handwritten notes. Will my new license plate always taunt me with its prescription for love? Everyone says…

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