this is what it's like

this is what it means to be alive: 

coming in from an icy rain,

too petulant to be proper snow

you sit near a fire

with plastic logs that never burn

but are thankful

for the warmth and the view


this is what comfort tastes like—

a delight of mingled simple and familiar

flavors in a perfect bowl of rice


you eat and remember stories

about a god in every grain of rice

and a god of rice and foxes


for a moment you are a child again,

pretending you are a happy fox

in a den miles away from

human decisions and consequences


you eat slow, so slow,

greeting the god in every grain,

indie rock serenading the traveling gods

as their journey intersects yours


this is what it’s like remembering

you don’t want the jarrito

because even almost a year later,

it will still taste like tears instead of pineapple

the tears will come anyway,

so you may as well have the jarrito


this is what it’s like remembering,

laughter still exists 

and it feels so good to laugh with a lover 
about wisteria in the winter

although spring is so far away


you remind yourself

this is what it’s like to be alive,

warm, and sated—a blessing


of food in the belly,

music and laughter in the background,

in spite of the storm.


Song Choice: What a Wonderful World covered by The Ramones


I Resolve

to stop portioning my heart
into subsistence-sized mouthfuls
only to achieve acceptable starvation.

I resolve to honor its messy,
bloody wholeness
filled with contradictions and dual realities.

I resolve to treat it gently
after hard days and harder decisions,
when even honoring the necessary and the true
bring out the covered-over bruises.

I resolve to make my heart
a partner, not an enemy,

to acknowledge the fighter it has always been, 
and allow it the tenderness it always deserved.

This Was (2021)

This was the tower,
all lightning struck and crumbling,
only knowing I had fallen
when the rubble broke bone.

This was the color of sky fragmented
by the prism of a bloody setting sun
that I had mistaken for a new day.

This was the sound of air
rattling in my chest
around the stalagmites
of unfinished conversations.

This was not the end
of the music in words
demanding to be recognized.
This was not the end of the story.

This was when I knew
some words deserved to be freed
to see what they will bloom into next.

This was me
making paper boats out of all my stories,
hoping one was sturdy enough
to carry me to the next shore.

Liner Notes for This Groove: This poem is linked to the Friday Writings prompt at Poets and Storytellers United.