the last last weekend

We throw our laptops
off the overpass and watch
them break apart, a million
green-and-silver pieces
while the horizon burns.

Jack-booted thugs walk
the streets, with their no-knock
warrants, their flesh-peeled faces,
their teeth in bone smiles.

We whistle tunes from old shows
no longer streaming.

We count the teeth
in our pockets and wonder
what will these buy? A crack
of sunrise, a few twinkies.
The slow and inevitable
heat death of stars.


Poem my kid wrote while playing a madlibs style game on family game night

I have: the universe.

I need: you.


The Things that Possessed Her

First it was a real demon, a good one, a Great Duke and Earl of Hell, who yearned to teach philosophy and oblige souls of the dead to appear (it hadn’t had much to do since Copernicus).

Then it was a small demon, one made of shadows and fiction, with stark eyes and bad makeup, taken from a movie she’d watched too many times (it grumbled about Mothers and hell but mostly kept to itself).

Then it was an old demon, a dusty one, that took every opportunity to point out that the word demon in Greek meant power, agency, (and in the proto-European, provider, which pleased it to no end).

Then it was the last demon, a trembling little wispish one tucked inside the drawer of some childhood fear, some backward, tiny, half-forgotten pain that despite its insignificance took hold of everything she thought and did. (This demon, the worst of them all, whispered to her, let’s go somewhere we can be alone).


A Ritual for the Dying

Close the windows. Cover the doors in crepe. Light a candle on the floor. Tie coins to the ceiling and leave three eggs in the yard under a new moon. Sing softly. Chase out the flies. Collect all their papers and cross out their names. Open the crypt and air it out. Count the moths. Circle three times widdershins and don’t look them in the eye as they go. (They could take your soul with them as they go.) Turn off the fans. Leave a plate of oranges. Sweep the corners. Open the windows. Close the windows. (Don’t look.) Open the windows. Close the windows. (Don’t


We Got on the Wrong Bus

After Edward Gorey

It seemed strange the driver didn’t ask for our bus pass. Instead he shook a box full of finger bones and growled exact change only.

Cleo sat down by the hooded figure near the front. She didn’t want to offend anyone by mentioning the smell.

Tyrone stepped over the pink-clear puddles that oozed over the center isle from the seats. He said ahem and I prefer to stand.

The chanting bothered Willem, but only when she took out her earbuds and glanced around at the faces under the hoods.

A skeletal hand was left on the seat Charise wanted. When she poked it, it scrambled under her feet.

Bones to Dust, read the sign above the driver, but Paro couldn’t see very well to read the rest; the purple fog was too thick.

Jacinto thought he heard the giggle of children, checked the seat behind him and saw an empty baby carrier.

Katy pulled the cord and heard brakes screeching, but the bus didn’t stop. Neither did the screaming.


Come be an Alligator

After Alvin Schwartz, “Alligators,” Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
For Levi

Because I love you,
I invite you:
come be an alligator
with me.

We’ll live in the river, float
like logs, quiet
as death
pull those fishermen
down to the bottom

Grasp our babies
gently, between
our massive jaws
teach them
to chomp minnows
and toes
and roll, roll, roll.

We’ll eat things when
they expect it least
sun our bellies
with the moon
and have them all
because everybody knows
there’s no
around here


I might be a dungeon

Last night, while cutting onions
I cut my finger and made
a small peep-hole,
a mini-cavern, and bled a little.
Peering inside, I saw
what might have been gray cobblestones,
rough-hewn stairs, old pitch torches
lighting long passageways, smelled
the smell of smoke and moss, heard
the occasional clank of
sword against bone,
teeth against shield,
and the groan of paladins dying
(I heard this, while squinting,
keeping my finger-hole close
to my ear)
the chomp of monster jaws
making short work
of cheap armor,
the clink of emptied riches
into a hoard, the whisper
(or perhaps weeping)
of the party’s magic user
who spoke of terrible secrets, written
in unknown languages, buried
in the levels below.


A Letter from Your Love Interest (who is not an Embalmer)

When you leave
I’ll preserve you
(your memory, I mean).

I’ll tuck my dreams of you away
in a bed of Egyptian sand
for centuries and centuries, until
the treasure of your face is uncovered
a rich and ancient icon,

or I’ll dip you in brine
(my feelings for you, that is)
a recollection of our love suspended
in formaldehyde
or honey, like the Persians did.

or I’ll nestle you down deep
in a peat bog bed.
The unusual conditions
of low oxygen, acidic water
and Irish cold
will transform the reminder of you
into silky black leather.

or I’ll lay you down
on a long steel table
pierce your carotid artery
and expel your
blood and interstitial fluids
(uh, memories),
flush your veins with
and other solvents,
so the time we spent together remains
chilled forever
a tag on the right toe.

This is to say,
when you’re gone,
My thoughts of you will
never rot
they will never decompose.
you’ll remain forever

(in my mind).


Nothing Fun will Happen this Halloween

This Halloween, I’m afraid
there will be nothing fun
that will happen to us on this dark moonless night
no ghosts will pop out as we sneak through the yard
no ghouls will rise up out from under the porch
no goblins will glare out of dark cellar shadows because
we all know, for quite certain, that monsters aren’t real.

This Halloween, I’m afraid
will be boring and tame
as we invade the house under cover of night
no vampire will hiss when the door slowly creaks open
no werewolf will howl as we all creep slowly through
no zombie will groan as we slink through the halls because
we all know, for quite certain, that monsters aren’t real.

This Halloween, I’m afraid
will be just like the last one
with the usual, quite regular holiday feast
no demons will care when we tug off the covers
no angels will hark all the shrieks from the beds
no monster at all will join us for dinner because
we know, for quite certain, that monsters aren’t real.