Standing in the Corner Will Have to Do

Standing in the Corner Will Have to Do

I had my blood drawn
by a woman
who looked small enough
to curl up
inside a kitchen cupboard
if the words turned
big and mean

this is the first thing
I thought of
about her size,
I won’t mention
the second

I envy her ability to hide
in tight spaces,
to be safe
with her hands over
her ears
and she can stay there
a church mouse
tucked in anything but
the holy

I know what
this says about me,
no need for any of you
to point it out,
not that you would,
anyway

I have trouble
in the confined spaces
people are always trying
to put me in

you will not,
that’s not lady like,
do you kiss your mother
with that mouth?

she’d tell you
people have an exhausting time
accepting themselves
they want to make everyone else
have a difficult time of it too

sometimes
there is no hard place
beside the rock
just a line I’ve drawn
in the dirt

I’m so tired
of thinking up
escape plans
for strangers
when they may not
want them

I got away, mostly,
and you can too

just be prepared
for when the things
you try not to remember
shout at you
and there’s not
a single cupboard
large enough
to fit yourself in

Their Kicks Connect with Soft Tissue

Their Kicks Connect with Soft Tissue

you stop and stare
and I see it
buried deep
in the specks of
your iris

you can squeeze them shut
blink it all back
into place
and it will worm
its way in
and out
while you sleep

who knew guilt
could sandbag
under your eyes?

I tell them
to stop talking
so much about things
they do not umderstand

anyone can sympathize
but there’s no glory
in trying to force comfort
into the boots
on tired feet

my mother told me
as you grow older
you can count
the moments
where you died a little
as practice

she was right
I’ve already run out
of fingers
on both hands

There Was a Time

There Was a Time

here’s another
tally
on the board
for anyone
keeping score

there are days
I put words down,
other days
I bury them
as far as they’ll go

who says
that:

zlkdoxqp! vlr’yb
zoxzhba qeb zlab!

doesn’t mean anything?

I’m doing
a Kansas City Shuffle
telling you to look right,
while I slide left,
and slip my hand
straight down

some would be happy
to see me
others
not so much

I’ll tell you a secret,
I wouldn’t blame you
but I’d hold it
just the same
against the break
in your neck