Denailing: the forcible extraction of my own fingernails

I’m pulling off my nails
with a pair of old pliers,
interrogating my mind
as to uncover why
I did not take out the trash
before I left for my uncle’s funeral
and let the pomegranates grow mold
on top of my fridge while I was gone.

I would throw away
the bloody fingernails if I could,
but I still haven’t taken out the trash
three days after coming back
so they’re sitting in the mold
that’s grown down the fridge
and now covers the floor.

When you whisper to me in bed at 3 am with the lights off and the window blocked

the telling is as much the story as the told
because you run your fingers along the inner curve of my elbow
and press your forehead against mine
as you work your words into the air
that is heavy with our breaths
and the muted buzz
of your roommates’ television two rooms over.


Prompt: Open any book you have and turn to page 7. Write down the 7th sentence on this page as the first line of your poem. Write a 7 line poem using this opening line.

Book used: Points of View: An Anthology of Short Stories.


Stream of Consciousness: The Book Left on the Shelf

I wish she would finish me. I miss her gentle grip on my pages as she turns them. She was always so careful not to tear me. There were some days when she read me for hours, hardly stopping. She would turn page after page after page. I could feel her eyes burning into me, memorizing me, falling in love with me. She started reading me less and less though. It became thirty minutes here or thirty minutes there. She’d skim a page or two and set me face down on the windowsill, leaving me nearly suffocating for days until she remembered to pick me back up and read another few paragraphs. She started putting me in her bag instead of carrying me in her hand. She shoved me in , jostling me, bending the corners of my covers. I thought that her putting me in her bag and taking me places might mean that she wanted to show me the world that she wanted to read me in faraway locations so that we could experience adventures together. Really it just meant that she was bringing me to work in case she had a few spare moments of down time. She never did. I sat there in her bag for weeks on end until her water bottle leaked and drenched everything, including me. I was soaking. The water consumed me, crawling up each of my pages. It was cold. I felt mushy, as I waited for her to save me. She took me out of her bag and laid me on a shelf in her room. She didn’t dry me. She didn’t really save me. She left me there. I wish she would finish me. I wish she would touch me, open me, read me. I miss her.

Prompt: Write a stream of consciousness piece that gives a voice to an object that does not typically have a voice.

(I’m back to teaching creative writing, so enjoy the occasional prompt that I do with my students.)

Stages of Grief: Shock (Part 2)

There’s supposed to be stages of grief,
a formula I follow
that shows me
the yellow brick path
to getting over your death,
but I can’t figure out
at which sign
I was supposed to have turned
in order to  move on to the next step
because though I started bargaining yesterday,
I woke up this morning
back where at shock,
telling myself
that you’re still alive
and just hiding behind the couch,
playing games with me
just like we did
when I was a kid.


NaPoWriMo -April 10, 2016

My stepmother always wished I was good at basketball.

Bloody footprints followed me
across the basketball court
as I ran
back and forth
and you laughed
again and again.

I ran faster,
slipping on blood
and falling forward
again and again,
trying to grab hold of the ball
as the recording
of your laughter
played on the radio,
blasting from
my phone speakers
and the school’s loudspeakers
and my own throat.

My chin hit the asphalt,
splitting in two,
a crack running up my face,
around my head,
down my spine
and back up my body,

spitting me in two

the ball bounced
between the halves of my body,
staining itself red
and rolled off
the basketball court,
and into the grass,
becoming lost
as you yelled
for me to get the ball.


Day 2 NaPoWriMo


Perhaps it’s the light of the television sliding across your cheeks
that attracts me so,
or perhaps the curve of your eyelids
framed by those soft eyelashes
or the shine on your lips, recently licked
or the eyes, glinting blue
in the dark living room
or the scar tissue roughing
the knuckles I can’t stop
running my thumb across.

my love,
it’s the soft skin
above your waistband
or the gentleness
of the insides of your thighs and elbows.

Perhaps it’s the puzzled frown
stretched across your face,
furrowing those eyebrows,
raising your ears, sculpted
in supple curves
and the calves
along which
I run my palms,
as I sit beside you
on the couch,
watching your eyes begin to close
at the onset of the dreams.