untitled (20220607)

better a heart
made of glass
reducible to sand

than this regenerative
muscle that forms
and is torn apart
and forms again
waiting for the next
hand in the chest

trickster whispering
the decision is the right one
what is right is never easy
and wanting more than
than to feel nothing

every decision that led to here
beginning with the first tears

there is no balm in gilead
there is no gilead

forlorn (20181028)

in the yard
digs through trash
among words
i’ve tossed out

it finds one with still
a little life
plucked from the ashes
of other
dead phrases

i feel the crow disturb it
through a pulsing umbilicus
that runs across a cracked driveway
and fragrant rosemary
with impossible blue blossoms

it runs under the door

straight into my gut

the word throbs in his beak
like a thumb-size mass of organs
wrapped in a greasy membrane

he will unseam this word
tear out the stitches
pierce it with his black beak
devour the marrow

it will become his

it will become his word
and on his black tongue
it will be his song
as he rises from the ground

i throw rocks at him
my loud visitor
to scare him away from
the bins
but he eyes me with contempt
and with my hard work
in his glistening maw
he takes to the air

i do not

his feathers are so black
so very like the night
and this

paper is so



copper (20161214)

round red leaves litter the pavement
pennies scattered from threadbare pockets

someone disappeared
and took their words with them

i thought to look because another
returned after a long hiatus

but the ghost
is a mist taken by dry winds

why dwell on another’s choices
why feel the sinking in the chest
the pit of the stomach
why ache for someone i read
but did not know

tomorrow i will look at leaves
and see pennies again
and count their value in more
than copper

all the poems (20161209)

every poem should be a love poem
not because there’s so much to love
but because it may be the last poem

i’m not being fatalistic
this isn’t about the grim reaper
hovering behind us all
although, of course, he is

no, what if this is the last poem
what if the words dry up with
the next sunrise
what if it’s last tango for
the fingers and keyboard
it’s not as if i have anything
important to say, nothing that
anyone needs to hear or wants to hear

what if what if what if
the next words the next ink
the next electrons cluttering the
snow white screen make as much sense
as egyptian hieroglyphics to
an albino pet store parakeet

someone excavate the feeling out of this
obscure and amateurish babbling
it all comes down to my love
whatever it’s worth

that’s what these words are
that’s what these words roar
that’s what these poems are

Poem 20160306

every loss
is a taking away
a chunk of you or me
lost to time
or circumstance
or maybe malice

and you feel it, a vacuum
i suppose
in that emptiness
in your stomach
in the surprise asphyxia
of certain moments
in the way your eyes try
to see a missing item

–can you spy the difference
in these two images–

but if a loss is only
a cutting out
a phantom limb aching
below someone else’s knee
why does it weigh
so damned much

Poem 20160109

the abandoned heart is beating
it struggles on, but not in spite,
or beating, rather, not to spite
but because it knows nothing else

dreading the silence of the night,
the abandoned heart is beating
to hear itself, steady rhythm
the only comfort it has left

cold darkness too, this loss of words,
a handful of half-told truths–though
the abandoned heart is beating
it will–can not beat forever

these days are soft sun-filled hours
and gray clouds hiding silent stars
that whisper, it is a lie that
the abandoned heart is beating

Jane Dougherty’s Poetry Challenge #12 – Quatern