Published online with Heartwood, 2020

Here is a head.

It’s not the kind of head you can cut

with some plastic sham-of-a knife,

thinning out ribbons of lettuce that crackle like aluminum sheets,

yearning, pouting for some crushing touch

to put the water out.


It’s not the kind of head you can get

for twenty or fifty or more dollars,

blundering bills nervously fingered through the sheet-like shadows

to some embarrassed end in a grocery store parking lot-

some asphalt for a bed.


It’s the kind of head that’s broken.

Not a lump-covered hill of white nor the porcelain-screech

of one sorry cracked skull,

but the pressured thoughts of too-bold blood raging,

an illusion of lights, an amplified mess of sounds,

a thunder clap of emptiness.


Here is a head

that my mother once had said

was like a great chest for filling

with antiquarian treasures, aged scrolls, and happy secrets.

Like a whisper wants to be a roaring declaration,

I want to fill it to the brim,

I want those over-eager twelve-year-old hands again-

pawing pale and overpacking for a weekend trip,

hungry mongoose eyes aiming

for every date, every name, every crooked smile

left in life’s little gutters.



here is a head that is broken.

It cannot be cut but by its own hand,

some blade of air cleaving through open ends.

It cannot be bought but by its own time-

here’s ten minutes gone

ten hours

ten days

of hanging over the bleach-bone toilet in agony

praying for some memory

of peace.

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