i am a shell

I am a shell. From me you shall not hear

A strident voice, fierce and clear,

Hanging in the air once I’ve spoken.

My timbre is the merest token

Of tones light, barren, scrubbed clean.

I am not heavy with authority—

I am a whisper. No sonorous tones, mine.

My voice far too rapidly declines,

Drifting among the stones of the shore

Until it fades. There is no more

Except as the beats of the seas endure,

So shall my echoing song waft pure.

As suffering of the waves resides in me,

My hollows roar dimly with the passion of the sea.

getting sick

a poem, for something completely different

I referred to it as “getting sick,”

as though she went to the market

and picked up cancer with a loaf of good bread,

a nice red, and some figs.

“Try the small-cell carcinoma, it’s divine.”

“Aplastic anemia, just wonderful what they’re

doing with Chilean varietals lately.”

As though she brought it home

in a paper bag, nestled with the bread

and the wine and the figs,

seasoned it and roasted it,

plated it with rosemary and au jus,

ate it, sighing over its robust flavor,

a meal she reminded me of later,

sunken eyes shadowed waxen flesh

stretched tight over high cheekbones

describing how she consumed it,

and how it now feasts on her,

on her lungs, on her liver,

the spongy marrow of her bones,

and all along I thought it was something

she could get, something she could catch,

something in the air, universal as breathing,

when the truth is that it caught her.