more poems after the Heian ladies

weeds wave gaily
on the 14th St exit
from the FDR Drive.
my heart has abandoned
all those feelings that
no longer serve me.

that deeply
annoying hum
in the background;
the moth that flutters
and suddenly dive bombs;
the stench of hot
garbage on steaming
concrete streets;
a persistent panhandler;
oh, you’re still here?

Continue reading more poems after the Heian ladies


riding the train but I’m
facing the wrong way
and it feels like I’m
being pulled back to the city
by my heart strings, I can
feel the spool inside my chest
winding and winding.

sometimes when I
feel like crying there’s a
silvery sort of nerve pain
that runs along my very
veins and a prickling heat
behind my eyeballs and
I don’t even know why
crying wants to happen now
because there’s no excuse
for it and as usual I’m
in public and idiots are everywhere
existing in my presence and
I know by the time I get home
it will have passed and I’ll
be dry as a bone, my strings
rewound and all tucked away
and no relief will be had because
the need will have withdrawn
inside me like a snail
pulling back its antennae.

tomorrow is another day
to want to cry and not be able to,
or to not want to cry and barely
be able to hold it back.

the compliment catch-22

one night you tell me that I
look especially beautiful.
I find it hard
to accept this gracefully
because a tiny, stupid
part of me is already
thinking about all the nights
to come in which
you do not say that and
how that part will think
that I must look bad
– or at least,  not
as beautiful, which
to that part is the same thing –
or that you’ve fallen
out of love with me, and
even though the rest
of me understands logic
and how I can’t be
equally beautiful
every night and how just
because you don’t compliment
me every night it doesn’t mean
you no longer love me, still
that part begrudges
current Brookes her compliment
on behalf of all the future
bitter slighted Brookeses.

this is why she feels like
compliments are a trap:
better to avoid the whole
thing and disbelieve
than accept it now, only
to regret it later.


why am I suddenly
remembering that time
last winter when
we went for a walk
around the reservoir
and I’m pretty sure
you ogled my butt
when I came downstairs
in leggings and a normal
length tshirt and
it was bitterly cold and
I complained nearly
the entire walk
except when we saw
all those robins hopping
and bopping in the dead
trees and grass next
to the path and
I stopped dead
in my tracks and exclaimed
“Robin Redbreast! look
how many of them! oh
they’re so plump and
cute! how I love them!”
just like a real
manic pixie dream girl
but I really could have
watched them all day
and then we stopped
at Starbucks on the way
back to my house
and you had a long
blonde or grey hair clinging
to you and I removed it and
it was your mother’s
and then I got an unsatisfying
sandwich and when I
got home I found
my period had started?


seeing a little girl
on the train with long,
curly, flowing locks,
I’m reminded of how
my mother struggled
to comb my hair
when I was young – and
how very much it hurt –
so she cut it short
like a boy’s. I
always wanted
long hair
like this girl’s.

she dances unself-consciously,
twirling body and hair
with equal abandon.
I smile and try not
to hate her, stuff
my jealousy back
down inside my heart,
and get off the train.
not out of spite; it was
just my stop.

the selkie

you left remnants of your presence
today – your toothbrush; tiny hairs
in the shower, coiled like secrets.
seeing them makes me feel
like I’m packed full of curled
fiddlehead ferns that are waiting
to open into full growth.
I censor my own words, my poems,
my very thoughts, for fear
they might prove unwelcome
to you. everything is pretty
and sugary sweet on the surface,
but inside I feel myself slowly
dying to break free.

Continue reading the selkie