What Kind of Monster

[Originally published in Dialogue Summer 2015]

What kind of monster spits a wad of gum in a urinal?
Blue. Brain-folded. 
Pregnant with identifying evidence.
DNA. Marks from teeth
that will long outlast the flesh.
Because a yellow rubber glove with a hand inside
with the hand of an eternal spirit inside of both
will have to fish that out of there.

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Even Manna

[Originally published in Dialogue Summer 2015]

Even manna stops tasting sweet
after so many plates
I said to the Christmas ham,
endlessly succulent,
cold ceramic tile under my bare feet.
The ham stared back at me,
stark in refrigerator light,
oblivious to the lull between holidays
we both occupied.

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About Half

[Originally published in Dialogue Fall 2013]

I.

“How much time do you spend gardening?”
I say.
My back fence neighbor's eyes are placid, patient,
riddled with cataracts, half blind.
They count the neat rows again.
His backyard is an Eden but with clothing.
An open-air produce department:
tomatoes, peppers, squash, carrots, and sugar peas.
An apricot and two peach trees.
And the grape vine climbing our common fence.

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Sisyphus

[Originally published in Dialogue 2010]

The escalator broken again,
we climb the adjacent stairs
in wingtips and houndstooth slacks.
I peer into the guts of the silent machine.
It's always the same guy,
crouched over, sweat on his face,
wielding a flashlight and cursing,
pushing the same stubborn rock
up the same hill. 

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Ripple Rock

[Originally published in Dialogue 2010]

This is where my mind wanders
behind this desk
bathed in soft monitor light.
This is where I levitate, oscillate, and glide
on five plastic wheels, a pneumatic column, 
lumbar support and everything.
This is where I pour yesterday’s lukewarm
water bottle on my mother-in-law’s tongue.

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Prayer

[Originally published in BYU Studies 2006 / Third Place, BYU Studies Poetry Contest, 2006]

It was picture day. Me: a first grader. I was all ready.
Hair combed. Shirt tucked in tight. Tie clipped on.                                                           
Mom’s orders were clear:
no getting dirty or messing up my hair,
no riding my bike,
no playing in the sandpile,
no playing outside at all.

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Reliquary

[Originally published in BYU Studies 2006 / 2nd Place BYU Studies Poetry Contest 2006]

The accumulated things of the garage
the closets, the basement, under the bed
even the back of your bottom drawer
begin to clutter your thoughts too as
moving day approaches.
And moving is a cleansing ritual.
A time to purge the trifling. A sort of trial.

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All the Signs

[Originally published on Popcorn Popping, 2006]

It takes a heartless person to find
amusement in the crazy people you
see in the city.
So you watch those who are probably fine, 
but there's no way of being certain.
The guy in spandex shorts, for example:
sometimes fluorescent green, the color
of sour candy, sometimes charcoal.
A tank top, good running shoes,
big headphones, the kind that cancel out
all ambient noise.

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