The Box of Chocolates

Cover of this month’s Boston Magazine. 


Cover of this month’s Boston Magazine. 


I wrote a poem about my mom and sister in the grey of you back patio,

loud and fumbling like the prospect of a beer with these friends.

I did that pretend crying about the differences between me and my sister

and you and your brothers,

like offering you a sip from a bottle you’ve probably already had.

Like the very cold joy and the empty high in my head that is not eating.

You tried to offer me an Ikea chair

and a shot of Souza

and also that diet coke and Easter candy I told you to buy

and the long johns and shirt stays I told you to stop wearing.

I decline.

I’d rather bubble up my tipsy clarities siting on the cinderblocks that make your flowerbeds that my roommate scolded you for siting in once in the summer and crushing your own flowers.

I need to be alone to dissemble my sister’s distant mind

feigned decency

like hospital gowns.

We are family, my mom agrees and I wonder why, always a little silly, I can’t say so much with so little to you.

Two months ago, utterly drunk, we decide to go to Europe.

Today, dizzy, we buy tickets.

You say I need a shower only after I concede to smelling

so I go home

and my uncle dies on my sister and I.

You’re family too but I pretend to cry and tell tangled truths to no one, not you.

I would like to introduce myself

while I am on a train of people going back home

I am going to Hartford

for a far away uncle’s funeral

back in Philadelphia by 5am

I love trains, not destinations

an eight hour Saturday, an opening night

a weekend in New York City

a closing and a plane

that stops in Boston on its way to Madrid

and Valencia and Barcelona for the feast of Saint Joan

I can remember Spanish like I remember how to mix acrylic colors

I don’t care for chemistry

I struggle through French tests

I remember stories or

I remember pictures

I’m never word perfect

Opening night

I would not admit I don’t need to know how to spell

I make sense

and  it’s my offering

in language a director calls broken

I don’t feel so broke so

I watch the Iberian debit

with imperfect satisfaction

on a train headed to Hartford.


construction paper hand-me-downs

an ancestor

or a kindly neighbor bought with his own money

bare feet snagged on loose nails

hammer in hand

once when the floor was put down

clay refuses to form, amorphous

shaped like the inside of a fist

on windpipe

dusty larynxes

stiff diaphragms

lungs that smell like mildew inside

and doors have been open and airing it out for years and years and years.


snapped as a sapling

but then roots meet rocks for all trees

Was I born in the winter or the spring?

Do I inherit the sun?

Shaded by dying leaves

scattered, on a dowry of wind

Maybe it’s fall

which I hate

Green fertilizer

doesn’t belong to trees

and history gets buried

in the dying leaves of last season


When I was a baby

and now too

train whistle blowing

was my favorite sleeping song

then because I was swinging a lantern

or at the wheel?

now I need train whistles

like I need sleep.

Green and Brown

The green piggy bank

is meowing at me

but I’ve already scrubbed the floor with my fur

and my fraying owl is empty

no regurgitation for you.



loses friends, specifically friends in nine-to-fives

I’m lying in bed

lying a little

specifically this is all over text message

means the same thing as in particular lol

which is especially in my essays are littered with

trying to become more specific

because I am a woman and insist on speaking to my peers


and young and an artist

I took six or seven different techniques of vocal resonance and vocabulary

so I am angry when I have a small voice

no one likes an angry lady and I am not graceful


I stay still

and sharpen, slowly


If you think these are the worst moments in life, you live a seriously charmed life, man.
All you need is a little resilience, perspective and strength. And some ice cubes and a hobby. There you go. I solved your life.

If you think these are the worst moments in life, you live a seriously charmed life, man.

All you need is a little resilience, perspective and strength. And some ice cubes and a hobby. There you go. I solved your life.

Things That Can Be Good

Even ovaries

that throb and climb their way out of bellies

sneezes or laughter

elicit fear for favorite underwear



cell phone alarms chorus every night


flies in petite fistfuls from the first aid kit


things that could have happened in the single stall

and the line

the vending machine runs low