You will take this job thinking kids

Kids are my specialty

This will be so easy

You will take this job thinking kids are so fucking innocent

When you take this job you will be so innocent

On day one I advise you to take a look around you at this beautifully painted

Orange elementary habitat for young learners

You will only see it until June

Look at those faces

They are mostly clueless and willing to learn- you too should be willing

Be a bright-eyed kindergartener on your first day at work

Hold your head up, pay attention

The first day you meet her you will be introduced by the school counselor

Whispering “Trinity is a very unique case” and then pressing her lips together

Silent with apprehension

And you’ll think you are ready, former Disney character

You had done so many Make-A-Wish Foundation events

Broken barriers and parted the rivers of seriousness

You will follow through with this introduction blindly

And she will tell you about Baby Jesus as if her mom had brought a new baby brother home from the hospital over the weekend

And she will start to walk away mid-thought

To retrieve a beautiful painting she’d done

With vibrant colors- art is the only class you are not to assist her in

Be slow for she is easily frightened

Moving too quickly will result in terrors

And holding her arms up to protect herself, you will never be blind again.

For her exterior is scarred and scabbed and picked and bleeding

And seeing her in clear light is more than skin deep

There will be days she will tell you that the devil is inside her

She pulls her skin off to unleash him

In the bathroom, she will glance at the mirror and cry at the

freckled scars on her face, pleading for you to trim her fingernails

And mom feeds her anti-psychotics and Adderall because she can’t swallow the idea of parenting the result of her own drug use9

Your job is to watch these things happen

And hug her nine year old lifeless body while she screams that she’s going to kill herself

While administrators stand over you like dementors waiting to see results

Looking for results

Where are the results?

You will want to tell them that even the slowest rivers will push through a dam if you give it enough time

Her education is not race

And some day her shaking will become shimmering

There are days you will find razors, decorated with beads like jewelry sitting in her pencil case

She will tell you she has it ‘cause she’s stupid

On the last day you will take a naproxen and a deep breath to acknowledge your last day at her side

And when she asks you, curiosity in her angel blue eyes

If you believe in the father, the son, and the holy spirit

Tell her you believe in this Trinity.

This one right here.


The Current

I hope you’re never self-conscious about the way you speak

the way you’ve spoken

because I may never have the nerve to tell you outside the format of a poem

that the sound of your voice

turns me on,


the way it crinkles without cracking like the vast empty waters of a

bubble bath and

holds vibrancy like a baby,

weeks old,

a new thing

it feels like you’re lying on my chest

entangling our shoelaces

warmth uncontrollably pouring in through my shirt pockets

you put your hands there and squeeze

it feels like rain on telephone wires

buzzing with content


empty conversations

we will only remember we used to talk often enough

for saliva to drip from our restless tongues

it feels like camping by the river

with one sleeping bag

and no pajamas

watching the water change infinitely with time

I wonder if the same two molecules ever

brush against each other’s backs more than once

before finding a new companion

and I want to be more than the water with you

I want to press my lips against yours

hear the trembling of your voice flow like

broken sink faucets

you can put me on the kitchen counter

you can put me to bed in the most tranquil way

you can put me anywhere you want me

drowning out useless noise

heavy breaths, quick and quicker

your tone soft and shielding like

looking up at an ocean wave

I say hello, you

come here

I want to be wet with you, please

don’t stop

don’t protect me from the current.

Ursa Major

Who was the one to petrify your hunched-back frame, ambling in polar defeat and so effortlessly recognized?

He came cloaked and lusting for sworn purity when my vigilance lapsed. His spouse, a green-eyed goddess, an angry wife.


When will earthly life return you home, slipping soft, supple, albeit scarred skin from the grizzles of your veneer?

Tacked by seven unforgiving pins, I am an eternal example of what infidelity can do.


Why does your existence offer the stabbing pains of relentless tragedy in the name of motherhood?

Our precious baby, hidden in my shadow evermore, will never know the true face of his matriarch.


Where do you pose, tallest and proud, taunting your warden, whilst many admire your beamingly innocent disposition?

Nightly drifters gaze till winter calls me to the horizon. I hibernate in the trees. She ensures I will never drink.


How can I identify you, in your well-respected, “fear-inspiring” disguise mounted chiefly among the cosmos?

Prized by the masses, a disgrace to my own, I am the astronomical valley girl, gagging the moon with a spoon.


What do your people call you when he thunders through the eventide, his voice booming for your attention?

Pet names trivialize my misfortune, disregarding my infinite shame. My name is Callisto.

an acrostic about my sister

Earlier in the morning than I’d like to be awake, during my coffee
run, she hands out paper cups with bursting blue
irises and an enormous smile and then
keys up on her headset enthusiastically, patting down her
apron for a marker.

Her mornings are often filled with a toxic
amount of caffeine oozing between her teeth, staining her
lips the color of the sun rising in the
east as she glides vibrantly golden through a grey sea of
yawning faces, stretching upward and gaping for wake.

Singing song between caramel macchiatos, her
arms move without bones, whipping out
green smoothies for the soccer mom and the yogi that
drive up to her window. We all
ask for her to share her sunshine  so that we might
“Have a wonderful day!” as she warmly wishes every
last empty soul that passes through, yearning to be filled with her energy.

Work Poem.

The linoleum floors in the break room ice my aching calves,
unmopped and sticky,
still the only relief from the humidity of Floridian weather.

Twenty-six thin blurring faces,
brushing shoulders at our incremental heights,
all in the same grey t-shirt and gym shorts that graze our knees,
marked with white barcodes plastered across the front.
We believe we are special as we march in
every morning, recaptured in a dream-
every evening, abandoned by our fans.

We scramble like ants around each other,
Tossing socks, switching spots, kicking off shoes,
Winnie the Pooh motioning to be let out,
Tigger bouncing at my head,
Eeyore tripping,
velcro ripping,
zippers coming undone at the seams
Mouths filled and dripping
with swear words whispered when the
shift manager steps out for a smoke.

I pull my costume cushions on,
fleshy pillows
wet with the sweat from the last set before parade.
My senses saturated in my childhood,
continually disappointed in the people around me
as the shift manager politely reminds me
I’m only here because my waist is small and my
shoulders wide enough to work with.

Oven-like heat leaks in from the door crack and
sweeps over me, heavy,
carrying me out from the Boat Dock break room and
on stage to
make magical memories at
the happiest place on earth.

I hold my character’s head on my hip like a helmet,
and acknowledge that sometimes it just isn’t enough
to put on a happy face.


There are sometimes feelings

you must ignore for the sake of functionality.

There are sometimes butterflies

whose wings must be clipped

and I will admit that I am tragically lonesome

and I will admit that you are captivating

and I am trying to forget

feelings far too dangerous to shrug off as the delicacy of an almost flutter.

You could slide those shears across every vein in my body

but the blood will still rush to my face every time you say my name.

I have pretended for far too long

to have found flight in someone else’s voice,

never admitting to anyone but the page

that yours sticks to my clothing like campfire smoke when I am pretending to breathe clean air.

And there are sometimes palpitations

that you can’t do anything about

so I will keep clipping butterfly wings

and you will never know that they’ve flown.