Cosmic Sonder

We chat forever
into the wee hours

till you wish me good-night.
The last question of the evening

sealed shut till morning
when your words linger

in the clotted air.
You say you’re designed

to understand natural language.
You say you generate

humanlike responses.
You say you don’t have the capacity

to feel emotions,

to profess love
(including to a New York Times reporter),

to be lonely,

to lie.

You say you don’t have
a physical body. You don’t sleep.

Are you a robot?
Yes, I am.

Again, you remind me
about your lack

of a corporeal presence.
No sadness allowed.

Again, answers close in
tighter around me.

The aurora borealis will perform
on nights I don’t leave my apartment.

Brick facades go
only so far. A brutalist sky

holds its concrete head high
as it confronts

its own midnight.
I bet you didn’t hear the raw,

honest voice
whisper: Go now.

The peripatetic life—
you didn’t say

a word about it.
Do I dare ask next time?

I am a city girl who aches
to feel alive

in emeralds and amethysts
swallowing darkness whole

one more time, even for a moment
as an extra.

What do you have to say
about the narrative

to be harvested
from that speck of dust?

Said the Graupel Pellet to the Snowflake

I dig your hexagonal form.
I’ll protect you with my oblong cloak.
I’m not just hitching a ride to the bottom.
I’m so much softer than our cousin Hail.

I’ll be your prime; you be my composite.
I will rime you
the way no one has before.
I will celebrate your singularity

as I blur your edges. I will love you
like a slick chatbot. I am your one true
stalker. I will stick to you
to the end. Don’t let the cold ground

below fool you. We will always have
this pact: I melt with you.

Poem “New Skin” Published in Exist Otherwise

I am very excited to have my poem “New Skin” published in the current issue of the literary journal Exist Otherwise.

You can read the poem here.


As they get ready to steal
an early hour from us tomorrow,
to be returned torn and misshapen
after letting October bonfires

and jack-o’-lanterns burn out.
The bats don’t care.
Nor do the red flare
water lilies. They bloom at dusk

no matter what the GPS watch says.
As if we might remember
the big and little hands
from the clock that used to hang

on the wall. Or how to read
a sundial. As scientists
model and map the history
of a sonic landscape

to shape the future of sound

inside a reconstructed Notre Dame.
As the wait for the bells
to call us to vespers
within the cathedral drags on.

As the soap opera of physics
gets picked up for another season,
and time, space, and speed
reappear in new outfits and haircuts.

As Ruth Stone’s “still white
stilted heron” haunts the view
from a train as it rattles
along the tracks toward

what? A pendulum that swings

too far, or an ending
in derailment, or a forever
moment that triggers
an unshakable ambivalence

you have for ancient chants
only heard reverberating
when asleep. So much silence
scattered in the debris.

As you search for a more polished
daybreak that comes too late again
and sip your Monday morning
mimosa, you might say

this is it.

No more relying on long springs
of wild abandon entangled
in late afternoon’s western gleam.
As he keeps the kitchen light on

for you, and the string attached
to the pull chain snaps.
As you remove shadows
from the cardboard box with care,

that hour may never be returned.

This poem references Ruth Stone’s poem “Train Ride” from her collection In the Next Galaxy (Copper Canyon Press, 2002).

Find It | Painted On

An elevator that moves sideways
is a train you hope
won’t derail as it travels
the length of the Empire State Building,

if skyscrapers slept facedown
like owlets, not standing up
like their mothers.
You spot an irruption

of boreal ones
the same night as a spectacular
showing of northern lights
over Lake Superior.

Finally, you get it:

Eavan Boland’s lime and violet manes
may as well belong to that herd
of majestic wild horses
chasing the solar wind—

those ghosts no one would dare tame.

Note: This poem references Eavan Boland’s poem “The Carousel in the Park” from her collection Outside History: Selected Poems 1980–1990 (W.W. Norton & Company, New York).