the poet's grandpa *may* have just died

Welcome to my poetry reading.

Prepare yourself.


We’ll Deal with the Shit Later

death is everywhere
all the time
so yes,
today it was cheesecake for breakfast.

The children and I slid slippery forks through our lips.
The sun came up.
We tasted joy until all the joy was eaten
then we grieved.

Tick Tock Now That Second’s Gone Whoops Now That One’s Gone Too
Why are You Reading This?

I read a novel,
a piece of fluff as sweet and flimsy as cotton candy.
It took about two hours.
Was it worth it?
Was it worth it, Katie?


“Can you die from riding in a car?”

“Can you die from falling out of a tree?”

“Can you die from being bitten by a deer?”
“Nope! You’re safe from that.”

“But what if you’re a blade of grass?”



Remember, it’s the One that Weeps

Have you ever watched your phone battery die?
The trickle turns into a drip if you try to stream
The Good Place at the gym,
and the drip into a flow if you have to keep the maps app open
to get you to your friend’s house that you’ve been to a hundred times
but not often enough to imprint which tree-named-street you turn left on —
Maple, right?
Shit, no. Willow. WILLOW.
The one that weeps.

Your brain just doesn’t do geography
and even though you know that should be an okay thing to know about your brain,
it also feels like maybe
you don’t love your friend enough to remember Willow.

Probably because you’re defending yourself against her inevitable rejection,
something you learned to do in Middle School:
fall half in love with your friends
who will always, always leave you.

The therapy app doesn’t take too much power.
Ask me how I know.

My Buddy: Wherever He Goes, I Go

At preschool meet-the-teacher
one of the families brought their new puppy,
a good, good reddish-brown boy named Buddy
with floppy velvet ears.

Buddy’s little girl told me she doesn’t carry him everywhere
even though she wants to,
because she doesn’t want the puppy to fall and get hurt.
That’s nice.

When that little girl is in middle school
and they put the good gray dog down
he’ll have had a good,
good life.

The Boy Unknowing

I took my son to a backyard birthday party and couldn’t help but notice
the father of the birthday boy
going gray at the temples.

At some point we stop getting bigger
and just get older
in our backyards.

The mother brought out the cake
fully baked, now just getting older,
and already prepared to disappear
as insentient things are and sentient creatures come to be.

The boy
blew out the candle.



Death isn’t funny but it is always absurd,
the thing that comes out of nowhere like a Kool-Aid pitcher through the wall,
and breaks all the rules.
Even though if you think about it, death makes the rules, actually -
isn’t death the consequence that our mothers always warned us about
to keep us from jumping off bridges or trying oxy just once,
to implant the habits of buckling up
and flossing and eating leafy greens?
Follow the rules and you won’t die
except of course you will die,
but follow the rules and maybe it won’t feel unfair
except of course it will feel unfair,
but follow the rules and you’ll live a long life
except of course no one can promise long life
and if they do promise you that, take your checkbook and RUN, bitch.

Anyway death is all around us all the time
but you probably don’t have to look at it much
unless you live on a farm
or work in a hospital
or exterminate rodents, for love or money.

But everyone has to look at death sometimes,
I did this month and suddenly everything around me was life
and also death, which is the thing that makes life something.

I wrote a lot of poetry and it was all absurd,
so laugh if you want to because yes,
I am wearing a black turtleneck today
in the rain.

I’m laughing, too.