true grit

Just because I am round
And have no corners doesn’t mean
My edges aren’t rough

They scrape against
The rest of the world every time
I bump into something

Smoothing us each
But so slowly that neither will notice
A difference before the end


with its sweaty palms and sun dried fingertips
lost its grip on the last days of September
slinked in with early evenings, dark beer, and rain
nearly endless and left a shiny, grey film
seemed to fill every week, playing keep away
followed close behind by more and more Mondays
chilled and stung as the blankets were pulled away
bodies ached for their daily long, hot showers
humid, eyes closed, in a steaming, curtained room
one more cradle easily appeased by you
another winter passed by too soon, waiting
summer far away but never far enough

i’m not pretty but i put out

let me
teach you new words
part your lips with greater purpose
find out together things you didn’t even know your mouth could do

let me
research your braille
with fingertips that sweep and press
i could conquer the world with your nearly endless, twitchy secrets

let me
write it all down
in my own words, in my own tongue
i don’t say it better but i say it warmer and with rhythm

let me
lock it away
dress it up for your eyes only
and you do the same when chastity is almost fidelity

let me
but i know you
and you do take some convincing
you like to say no but not as much as i like to get my way

monday mornings

I wondered how the diner table, wobbly and bent with age, could possibly hold up his massive, leathery, tattooed forearms crisscrossed with veins like dime rolls. His left hand wrapped easily around his coffee mug, it looked dainty, miniature almost, and the right cupped his forehead while he stared through the steam rising from his first cup of the day.
It was still grey and cold outside the window, framed with condensation. We were cozy and warmly lit and I felt camouflaged in my high-backed leather booth. He looked out and got lost in the fog that barricaded the streets. Not being able to see past his waist, I imagined him in jeans and work boots spattered in drywall mud and dusty with cement.
Even the mop water steamed up from the floor. Everything was warmer than we were.
Everything was warmer than we were.

Canned Air

I sit, heart rattling against my ribs without the proper tools to offset the doubt placed there.
A vacuum blows through my chest, straightens my spine and makes me breathe deeply but never deeply enough.
I could fill my lungs with the sky.
And so I sit, eyes closed, posture perfect, breathing through my nose. Tiptoeing through a series of worst case scenarios. Justifying one, outraged by the next, but well past the point of no return.
There is nothing for me to do but inch my hope away from the black hole in my heart every time I exhale.

To be Found

I lose things.
Pens, bras, important paper work.
It has been a defining characteristic of my life.

I am a loser.

Likely, I will be vacuuming and I will move the couch just slightly or a pair of shoes and there it will be, whatever happens to be missing. Because I never find things by looking for them; they turn up on their own, in their own time.
So, two weekends ago when I couldn’t find my keys, instead of panicking I called my sister. She is one of a half dozen people who have a spare set for just such an occasion, and I got another set made. And everything was fine because my keys would eventually either turn up or not but only at the very back of my mind was I worried.
And barely.
Still, though, I took precautions. It’s better to know. I let the stopper down on my front door and placed my work boots on the mat so if someone managed to force their way in I’d at least be able to tell.

It was just past two on a Sunday morning and I had my head down, mixing cookie batter or making pancakes, as one does. I had Firefly playing on Netflix in the background, as one does. When amidst a gun fight everything went quiet. At first I didn’t notice. I was mixing in raisins or blueberries or something but around minute three when I began to feel the fatigue in my shoulder I realized how it was too quiet even for two o’clock in the morning.
I looked up through the pass through from the kitchen to the living room and there he was sitting on the couch with a PBR in one hand and scrolling through my the recently addeds with the blue PS3 controller in the other the other.
He’d left the screen door open which, during mosquito season, was what I found most annoying at the time.
On the coffee table in front of him, placed neatly on a coaster, were my keys.
His name was Nathan. He was an old friend. Was being the operative word. Years of casual friendship had eroded into unhealthy obsession and I’d tried to distance myself after a couple of hot dates and a few heated phone calls, or missed calls, that followed.

When did you take them? I asked from the kitchen, knowing the answer.
That night you had another girl in your bed, he said.
My best friend had spent the night a while back after we were out late and I had drunkenly forgotten to barricade the patio doors shut.
I live three floors up and I trust my neighbours. It’s paranoia that had me blocking the doors with scraps of plywood and old vacuum hoses every night before sleep or work. It’s paranoia that had been keeping me safe. There were few nights I forgot to lock up but most days I left everything open, assuming no one would have the balls to climb the three floors up the outside of my building to my patio in daylight.
And I guess I could have been wrong.

Why would you go through the trouble of stealing my keys only to keep sneaking in through the patio doors? I asked him.
I’m used to it now, he told me.
And just out of view I quietly slid open the top drawer and pulled out my very favourite knife.