working class voter

I don't know about politics. Are we Democrats?

                                 Yes! says her brother, from inside the house, loud.

He can't vote, she explains, with his felony convictions.

This is the best yard, I say. 

The parking lot in front of her building licks the desert foothills. It will be so beautiful in the winter. Today it is hot and brown.

Her sons play around us. A football arcs over her head. 

I don't know what a Democrat is, she says. Whoever is on the side of poor people has my vote!

I say the choice is clear, and it is. But no one running for anything in this race looks like her — 

They do not have her smile, her shape or her style. Silky curls, thick energy. 

 She's wearing a deep yellow t-shirt with black letters:

QUEEN.


dry heat

weatherbeaten house 
perched 
on a mound of rock and dirt
curtains pulled tight
against the sun 
Chrysler 
gathering dust
shirtless 
with a belly full of rage
he moves his body
into the light
gives me an earful
about taxes 
he's never earned enough 
to pay

arizona

she is the one I am looking for
but he opens the door
 
I see her behind him
a long arm’s length
 
a smile on her lips
I ask the question
 
and it’s a trigger
 
he hates them all
dems and libs
 
riots in Seattle
child molesters
 
hunter biden
china china china
 
molotov cocktail
 
she slips into shadow
before I learn

which way
she leans
 

cough

a storm comes for the body
puts that taste of metal
in the mouth
 
shivers, twitchy muscle
the self dissolves 
into a fog

which is a kind of grace
 
but then it congeals into solid form
and wraps its grip
around the throat

do not be afraid

hormone crisis, hardwired terror
empties the bowels



dexamethasone

I got COVID and went to school
learned so much
didn’t read any books but now I know
 
white knuckle
cortisol dump
 
I circle the hospital and then the house
feeling great
nothing like a steroid ride
 
rose garden
family plot
 
I stop and stand to be admired
pull up my spine 
while my body shrinks inside my suit