Book Spine Poem

Running with scissors,
We touch the sky

"Sure" Revised

When he said the word,
It sounded like the anagram
With all the original letters exactly once
It was
Like week-old salad
On a plate next to the sink
Hit the wall and shattered

When you said the word
I knew you meant it
It made me think
Of "That Time" and "Apres Moi"
A haircut in the laundry room
A poetry reading at Seattle Mobile Espresso
That 5:45 AM has the best light for photos
And that the farmers' market has jewelry vendors

A gold and ivory ring with a rose
Reminded me of my mom and Granny Janie
But I am never
Sure enough
I set it back down on the display
You picked it back up

When I said the word,
I meant it like Christmas pajamas in summertime
Like recently-painted toes
Sticking out from snowflake hems
Like, Of course you're right but
I'm gonna pretend I think you're making it up
because you laugh
Like kids' cereal
Fruity Pebbles and vanilla almond milk
For sure
And coffee with cinnamon creamer

And you know 
I'm watching Garden State
Is code for week-old salad
On a plate
Next to the sink


It’s sort of like a truck
Tire flap silhouette
When I block the light a certain way.

After a shower,
the light from the bathroom
frames me at the end of the hallway.

Is that a boob or an elbow?

Interior Design

Three walls.
Three couches.
I sleep on the floor with a full set of sheets and a comforter,
Like I've made a home here.
I believe somehow that I live here because of that fact
That I own the house.
I bought it a few weeks ago.
Loved the tour.
Good layout.
Lots of privacy.
So I start to think,
I own this house
Why am I living in the living room?

It’s about time I decorated.
Second walking tour.
Oh hey,
There’s a bear in in my sunken living room.
It seems pretty contained.
Caesarstone counters, hmm.

I pass the bear to look out the window of the front door.
Oh no!
I’ve shown the bear the way out,

The front door.
Pull the cat food off the top shelf so it smashes on the floor.
The bear is satisfied with the snack.
Another bear comes
Out of the echoing hallway.

She does not like cat food.
I run down the stairs,
Back to the living room I was living in,
Out the door with an all-the-way-across “push to open” handle.
The bear is right behind me,
Right on the other side of the door.

I hold it shut.
I am stronger than a bear.
How do phones work?
I look at mine.
I had just pulled out of my pocket.
Bear chase.
Bear chase.
Is that 411 or 911?


An expensive game waits to be played
Like a bruise waits to be punched.
All the words put together
Are more convincing.


There’s a motorcyclist who lives in the building next to ours. Jeff googled the legal amount of noise a motorcycle is allowed to emit, and at less than forty-five miles per hour, it’s seventy-eight decibels, maximum. That’s the sound of a jackhammer from fifty feet away. That’s the sound of a smoothly functioning vacuum cleaner at your feet. With walls between that level of road noise and us, we should barely hear it.

This guy’s motorcycle is enough to wake you up, force you to turn up the TV, or pause your conversation. It’s worse for Jeff, whose room faces the street, but the revving pushes around and through his room to shake my window pane as well. Thursday through Sunday nights, the motorcyclist and his buddies joyride outside Jeff’s window.

“Maybe they like the steep hill,” I say.

“Maybe why does he have friends?” Jeff says.

When the motorcycle drives by, I’ve taken to yelling, “I hate you!” I hear Jeff in his room yelling, “You’re being illegal!” We’re trying to start a movement in our building.


I stare at the grate. Of all the things I could stare at--old, brick buildings, the giant, ten-spout fountain, mature trees, beautiful people--I stare at this metal grid. “No dumping. Drains to waterway.” Shame colors my perspective like construction scaffolds color Humanities bright orange and gray. There are 26 bricks between the grate and my left foot, in a hopscotch pattern. I never played hopscotch. I am undeserving.

The lamp post is short in perspective with the trees and tall in perspective with the people. I try lying down on the rocky, concrete bench, try sitting up, focus on the tones of the conversations. The conversations leave with the feet that carefully avoid the grate. Some ballet flats, some sandals. They must not have shin splints and tendon pains that force them to keep their pretty shoes in canvas boxes. They must look up at each other and not at sewer grates.