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Amy’s April 17


sharp edges let me not admit
you are too heavy to move
and took two men to carry
the drawers from one apartment
to the other apartment
It’s been ten years since I added
anything to the “Friends’ Writing”
folder. I keep my paycheck stubs
from all the shit jobs I hated in order
of level of drudgery

My son has yet to start
his terrible work history
nineteen is late enough
to imply I have coddled him
does not contain his Social Security
card nor does the “SS-KIDS”
his sister’s birth certificate
in quadruplicate his dad’s
death certificate same
REB III – ESTATE – thin papers
for the lawyer I will never pay for – Blue
DENTAL yellow IRS now in my accountant’s
neat packets and its own blown-out
accordion folder branded blessed
and tissue thin W2 the clipping I never
made into collage, the articles
someone was sending scanned
and digitized the Vegetarian Times
clipped recipe the STORE CREDIT
accounts closed the credit reports
the sagging leaden strips
the pendaflex balancing on the beauty
of dull green time-bleached the yellowing
of paper full of acids paper paper paper
Friends’ Weddings Family Lore
SRP initials of friends I thought would be famous
now she lives in the Catskills
remember that time when I looked up your number
posing as a potential employer
they were so innocent there was
no Federal Law against sharing
information that belonged to someone else

Bring in a giant shredder
let the confettifying begin
the rest of life music I never learned
to play the programs from all your concerts
before the kids were born the archives
of a person I do and do not recognize
I’m not the kind of girl who gives up
just like that never any doubt
I would find someone to spend
my life with the papers don’t lie
the papers yield no secrets
paper paper paper paper poof

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[T/F] You ride horses because you like to be outside

You often feel competitive

  1. when you see a great pair of shoes
  2. when playing games that are fun to other people
  3. when friends describe their travel experiences
  4. when other people’s children receive awards

You think the police officer

  1. should not have asked Sandra Bland to put out her cigarette.
  2. should not have pulled Sandra Bland from her car for not putting out her cigarette.
  3. should not have pulled over Sandra Bland.
  4. should not have asked Sandra Bland why she was agitated.

You wait in line [  ] hours to vote

You own

  1. zero homes/apartments.
  2. one home/apartment.
  3. two homes/apartments.
  4. one apartment and one country home.

Every day you drink

  1. water from one plastic bottle.
  2. water from two or more plastic bottles.
  3. soda from one plastic bottle.
  4. soda from two or more plastic bottles.

You read reviews on your phone standing [inside, outside] a particular restaurant

All of your overall parenting strategies results in

  1. buying something.
  2. taking something away.
  3. using a device.
  4. inwardly soothing yourself and using a talking point from a book.

You [do, don’t] watch CNN every day and think it should be turned [louder, off] at airports

You are afraid of or uncomfortable around

  1. terrorists
  2. white people
  3. activists
  4. teachers

Doctors are

  1. always looking out for your best interests
  2. running tests to bill insurance companies
  3. writing scripts for prescription drugs too much
  4. misdiagnosing patience because they spend very little time with them

It is quite possible

  1. avoiding corporations is unavoidable
  2. nuclear warfare is unavoidable
  3. fascism is rapidly spreading
  4. the earth is full of plastic

You are close to your family because

  1. no I’m not
  2. you will one day give them money
  3. you have already given them money
  4. you support each other as best you can

[T/F] You buy products that claim to be natural

[T/F] You had a teacher whose multiple choice test answers were always ACDC


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Poetry is the center of the universe

The higher power does not mind this

Everything has changed pão de queijo has Passover clearance

Do you think of the ocean as the sea or the ocean

as the place of science or the place of love

When I listen to Noam Chomsky I run faster than ever

I exercised away my back pain into heartache

How many times do I have to ask

why do beautiful women fuck up their faces with make up

Never giving up poetry

Is she going to fidget her whole life

or deal with her childhood trauma

The body will think of something

I dreamed your dream for you

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Recycling was left off for militarism

Books were glued in mountain cabins

I know you by your blurbs

Sometimes when I’m waiting

I look up people’s shoes online

It’s a way to avoid my feelings

A trance of sadness is like any spring

and I’m tired of being flayed by spring each year

In anger I’m all in

a real person

holding the broom afraid of myself

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If I had a garden would I have too much or not enough

Yellow bowl for the small bugs

My neighbors yell at each other

Looking for a new apartment in secret

After Spanish comes Portuguese

Are you not Confucian?

The nutritionist says on her coffee days

she boils mushrooms and calls that coffee

Worried about my bones

A panic on the subway

I know you by your ribs

I knew you needed a hug but I was too hungry to give it

Why bother planning anything

I’ll be on my period for the rest of my life

The mine of sharing

Everyone says my teacher even though she teaches all of us

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This desk has been on my to do list for at least ten years

My teacher said she only writes done lists

and if you really wanted to do something you’d do it

I have joined the resistance 

and we have all said we’ll forget by Thursday

Military brat means what 

I held your hand

you pressed the button and it lit up like a remembrance

Aren’t we lucky we can take the stairs

When you let go I worry I somehow failed

All the time I spent arguing with my father

I never changed his mind

Why can’t you be an Eisenhower republican I screamed

At least something that makes sort of sense

After screaming comes empathy

but in my family surprise death comes before that




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Erasing warfare from consciousness

Not even points in a document called bullets

Not even dressing my sons in camo

My teacher said the world or at least New York City

is a mud pile and we’re all crawling and killing

The battle of togetherness

But really the world is an amphitheater of preschool

some take some ask

and some of us say why would we modernize ground cruise missiles?

GLCM of my memory

My father in the middle of all the photos

Everyone in the same uniform

I am always in the back of wherever

Electing myself

Duality the easy Sicily

My father in the silo

or standing with me on the ferry deck

inching toward Rome

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Against gravity

I cannot consider my heart’s wet muscle its pumping pumping pumping the weight of it the fat of it the pulse of it when I am at rest I cannot consider my heart its music its valentine its stupid fault line my father’s heart stopped its lithe work when he was sixty I cannot consider my heart’s busy valves and harnesses aorta and arteries I imagine a horse’s heart in my body its glenoid shape its fourteen pounds its chambers filled with sugar and green grass and ecstasy its horse chambers playing Bach in a barn in sunlight my giant horse heart luxurious in hay beating time keeping time perfect and alive but for an apple a carrot a caress a hot steamed snort my heavy horse body moving always forward moving always toward morning 

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My fallback character during improv

is a rageaholic who can’t fix anything

When he said high school was fun

the only parts described were breaks

Could you home school your children

Could you say it’s time for our science experiments

and they would listen to you

I’m remodeling our apartment in my mind

and the new space will sooth you

I am the goddess of eating your anxiety

and for my inner child cup after cup of tea

Visualizations every week are making all the difference

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A Gift

What matters in another person? In my dream last night, 
the whole raw chicken came back 

to life, shivering from such a wet death. I showed many friends 
the animal coming to. This is the term 

for when somebody wakes from deep sleep. They come to 
from a nonconsensual black, death 

a nonconsensual black. I ask my class today if they would 
have genetic testing done if it meant 

discovering an incurable disease lay waiting for them, a fox 
stalking at the end of the hollowed trunk 

through which you traveled so far. I was after rhetorical argument, 
critical thought. I have given up.

The chicken comes to and grows a down of awareness. Living
makes it smaller, more precious. Her neck

grows back. What a gentle place to find oneself, a coming to
of a body we never asked for. 

Week after week, I cooked a whole chicken into broth. Initially,
I said I found myself cooking to demonstrate

my submissive will, how I stalked my own tunnel and saw little else
coming my way. I poured broth

into a mason jar, oiled my legs, and fed it to a beautiful hung man.
Oh, the ceilings I’ve stared at,

the cracks and popcorn shapes I counted as a body pushed itself in.
I measured love in the plaster, its commitment 

to form. Poetry questions nothing, it is the shadow of the depleted master,
no longer amazed at its courage. 

In the sun, white ensnared life. The chicken drowns when it fails
to be astonished. You will not find me again.
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Another Night



when I pulled the cord on the pinkish purple lamp with the acorn finial and then smartly turned the corner from the bedroom into the living room,

the yard beyond the plate glass window was blurred as if a thick fog had come. But when I hurried to the door and my eyes adjusted to the dark, there was no fog. But I still felt the thrill of fog. My eyes still had the pleasure of hunting between the trunks of trees for a type of air. Most exquisite of all, my head did not belong to me.

It hung round and spinning in the doorway, handmade like a wind chime or a larded omen, an integral part of the stark, rural scene.