Worker Ant #134889 Will Have His Revenge

Glass glows slick
with sweat

pane of crystallized

slash the air
in a thin line
in two dimensions

skin sizzles
and flesh rises
to meet mercury’s level

the radio plays
summer songs
I scream hymns
for winter

as the car wheel
kisses the inside
of my thighs

all the ants
I burned to death
with my magnifying glass
are laughing at me

Sister, Mother

I can taste blood
in the syllables of your name
as it rolls off my tongue.
Its sharp vowels chips teeth
and leaves tears in my gums.

Every time I see your face
in mine,
I feel a small death
rattling in my lungs.
I have to laugh
to get it out of me.

Your name was written
on the tombstones of every grave
I saw in the cemetery
I used to hide in as a child,
reading Stephen King in the grass
and wondering if the flowers
that sprouted from the dirt beds
drank dead memories up through their roots.

I would pluck daisies, forget-me-nots, and roses
from the grave soil,
imagine souls disintegrating in my hands
as I pulled out all their petals.
All those flower heads,
stripped of their petals,
looked like you.

I can’t read your name
without thinking of Sundays
spent at your house in Union Hills,
next to a strip club named after a candy store
that I thought was a candy store…
until my hormones told me that it WAS a candy store,
just not the kind they give you at the end of October.

We would read comics- Spawn and The Maxx.
I’d rest my feet on your pit bull
while you let me play Sonic The Hedgehog
on your Genesis.
You chain-smoked on the porch,
signing your name in curlicues of nicotine.
You drank a 2 liter of coke every day
and never gained an ounce.
You gave me everything-
but you never gave me that.

I can’t think of your name
without picturing:
clouds of dust
kicked up by a speeding car;
an airplane vanishing beyond the horizon;
an empty doghouse;
a Sega on a Goodwill rack;
a piece of mail
with no return address.

Your name gives me
coughing fits
from secondhand nostalgia.
Your name clings to the leather
of my car seats
and cuts lines into my face.
Your name is a dead currency
that can’t buy me anything.
Your name gave me
nine months,
plus some change.
Perhaps it’s greedy of me
to ask for more.

Wherever you are,
I wonder what you taste
when you say my name.
I hope it’s sweet.
That’s all I can hope for you

300 Pounds, Waist Size 44

When I take out the trash,
I do it with the tenderness
of the bomb squad.

Arms thrust forward,
the straining overstuffed garbage bag
swings from my fingers
on red straps
that cut into my flesh.

Every step to the dumpster is
to ensure that none of the bag’s contents
contaminate me.

I move with the slow grace of a man
strolling through a minefield.
I will not misstep.
Nothing will touch me:
I stand apart from my waste.

When I walk out the door,
without a bag of trash,
I still carry my body
the same way:
At a distance.