In Oklahoma, the sky is vast
and all we have, forming the landscapes
we lack; the morning
by evening growling mountains whose peaks
are climbed by the red flashing lights
of planes flying overhead.
In Oklahoma, the sky is sheer fabric
stretched across rumpled mattress,
puckered with hay bales in the summer
and punctured with crosses atop churches,
torture glowing gold like some hipster
outdoor market lighting
partially funded by my grandparents
who invite us to Life Church
and say that we are the exception to
In Oklahoma God is painted into the sky
because it is the only place big enough to fit
Him, and He is always sketched white
even though the clouds are folded in
purples and pinks I drown in
and even green as yellow fades into blue,
the grass reflecting upwards.
We describe fog as heavy. It
may just be the
lightest thing. Gauze
dress imprints ethereal
beings in the haze, myself and
myself and myself.
The truth is any of them, all
of them. They see each other
which is dangerous. They know
other truths which halt
any truth until the boolean ‘true’
is as useless and motionless
as the fog in which it suspends.
A sea of fantasy, not even that,
make-believe, myself and myself,
back playing house with plastic food,
myself driving aimlessly into
its thick with my brights on.
The birds are permanent
marker. I don’t notice
the telephone wires until they
slash them through, [REDACT] them.
How silence becomes louder than
vibrant neon. Do the birds know
what thrums beneath their
claws? Can they hear the drunken
laughter and mundane gossip
and sobs and
reminders to ‘call your mother,
it’s her birthday tomorrow?’
The birds alight as one, smoke into
the deepening evening sky. Who makes
that call? Where are their
The Chihuly Exhibit in the Oklahoma City Museum of Art
Cherubs hide above behind
glass dripping down in multiplicity, contained by
the illusion of invisibility—but not
contained. The glass stains
our skin. Our necks crane to
find the cherubs.
Imagine it all shattered by sonic
booms, also imported from Seattle. Though
I suppose we have our own earthquakes
now to do the job.
Glass is not color. Mix
three primaries and get
that brown which encompasses
egg only when there is no pigment to break.
Glass isn’t color. Glass is
chemistry. Glass is
steel. Glass is a blacksmith and a sword
stretched like taffy to a point twice as sharp.
White linen is made up of every thread and
black is the shadow of nothing, except—
black is not lack,
in this room. Black is
water; black is
or perhaps purer,
decrypted. Purple reeds are not purple in sunlight,
they’re blue. Purple was never
really purple. Light isn’t color
but oceans—tiny tsunamis flooding
the crevices of sculpted tissue in waves.
Light is perception. Light is the shape
of . Light is just cherubs, hidden
behind glass desperately trying to obey
the laws of gravity.
I would fall to my knees
and beg your forgiveness—water
your dirt with my tears if
you wouldn’t split the ground beneath me
for my hypocrisy.
I eat the meat of your children, carved
in factories that strangle your lungs;
the combustion of gasoline compounded from the life
of my ancient forefathers and drawn
from your guts feeds my convenience. Maybe
I could become one of those women
who make their wombs barren
in solidarity with you. But
even then—just another manifestation
of selfishness, how much it would hurt
to bring life into your hands as they crumble
in the wind. Giving birth in a burning
building while half of the firefighters
shout that there is no fire and light
cigarettes with the flames. Can
you forgive me my greed? Or is
that yet another self-serving
act, asking you to soothe my sunburnt
guilt with gentle palms, spread
aloe vera along my reddened shoulders? I
taste the unsustainability in
as I rinse my chlorine-soaked hair
in hot water.
Aviophobia, In My Neighborhood Wal-Mart, God is Your Mother Who Creates Miniatures
inspired by the Congressional hearing of Christine Blasey Ford
In a room smaller than
it seems spread thin across screens
streaming around the nation
and 27 years since last,
they ask about the fear of flying.
A pressurized metal tube traveling impossibly
at 20,000 feet at 500 miles per hour, sipping
Diet Coke and working your jaw
to pop your ears. Reasonable to be
scared of flight—well, reasonable to
be scared of falling. But if you are scared of
why two doors in your home
why not say something sooner
why not say something then
why can’t you remember how you got there
why doesn’t he/she
he was seventeen and now
it’s a case of
he said, she screamed
and the music was turned up louder
how are you here today?
You must not be afraid of falling.
(Thank you for taking the plunge.)
In My Neighborhood Wal-Mart
I find some of the most
places in the world to be
the missing persons boards
How much hope they have—
that a casual shopper
a harried mother in sweatpants
and a bedlam T-shirt, two and a half
children hanging from her forearms
as she pushes a cloud of dreamy plastic bags
soft swaths of white cushioning toilet paper
laundry detergent and Lunchables
will glance at the image, think, “oh,
yes, I have seen that face; I avoided eye
contact with it at the liquor store last Friday.”
One image stands out in black and white,
red stating ONLY PHOTO AVAILABLE
at the lower margin of the young woman’s stern
face, smudged by low quality. Her eyes
not quite focused, looking at something past
the camera, perhaps at the beginning of the eighties, of
when she went missing. And
in the upper right corner, digitally produced,
a photo of what she would look like now, in sharper image
than her existence: older,
chunkier, hair short and shot through with
gentle blonde highlights, lines from age and smiling—
the photo of a woman who went missing
and proceeded to live life, have a family,
gain enough years to gain the hairstyle middle
aged women seem to inevitably choose.
How optimistic to will her into the present with an image
like a photo from the teachers’ page of a yearbook.
How optimistic to not, instead, write AGE PROGRESSED
over a picture of leaves and dirt
God is Your Mother Who Creates Miniatures
when you peek around the corner
she is working on planets in a galaxy
spread across rough-hewn wood,
“The Milky Way”.
you wonder if the name was stripped
from chocolate wrappers strewn about the floor
wonder about the legalities—
if the name falls under fair use if
she won’t make money off of it
but others will because, well,
a pinprick is visible between the thumb
and pointer finger of her right
hand, her left dusting it with sugar-fine
ice and you half expect her to
swallow it whole
instead she extends
and places the pinprick far from the warmth
chest. the ring on her finger knocks
“earth” slightly on its axis.
she doesn’t notice or she doesn’t care,
or maybe it was intentional,
or maybe it was an accident and she’ll say it was intentional,
you never can tell with her.
you like “earth”.
she let you hold it once;
its water tickled your fingertips, dampened
the land as your thumb skimmed it, the crevices
of your skin stenciling mud.
you felt the growth of lifelines across
its palm, holding hands
with the swells of mountains until
a sudden prick on your finger pulled crimson
puddling between knuckles;
you sucked the blood,
iron and steel kissing your tongue.
“why did you add a needle to earth?”
soft smile, never breaking her staring contest with jupiter.
she hunches when she works,
completely negating the expensive
chair designed to provide
good lumbar support.
even though it's her fault:
“it’s the devil”
as she stretches her spine
like a serpent.