i have no more space for
pent-up thoughts or breaths

it is time to expel them all
in one slow relaxed exhale

let the warmth loose
free to join the currents

hope the wind blows balmy
against your sun-kissed cheeks


i found your photograph today
in black and white and browned
with old age, but secure in the
fire-safe box, tucked between
photocopies of old passports, under
mom’s gold-foiled jewelry boxes

i immediately turned it over
and read your birthdate
and name and your age
at the time the photo was taken
all written in dad’s neat script

and then turned it back to you
three months and seven days old
uncomfortably propped up
in a round plastic wicker chair

your feet pointed at the camera
both legs bent, but only the right
one raised, the sole pale, almost
as white as your sleeveless top
fastened by knotted shoulder straps

your hands are hidden, but your face
is unobstructed, save for the crease
running down the slight gap between
right eye and nose and along the corner
of your closed, unhappy mouth

and the almost-black irises of your eyes
are shifted right, never meeting my gaze


there will be no snow here
but it is cold enough for me
to begin seeking warmth
in pots of dark oolong tea
and worn flannel pajama pants
in weighty down comforters
and the memory of your voice

speed reading

i watched some instructional videos earlier
then spent too much time zipping through
the long lines of sample essays
and old newspaper articles
eyes following fingers
practicing how to
ignore the voice
inside my head
but right now i
want to savor
the sound of
your poems
speak them
as slowly
as possible
listening for
the rhythm
that would
be lost
in the rush
of too many
of words
per minute