Cliffhangers

Meeting you was like that time
when I looked both ways and
crossed the street but
didn’t see the bicycle coming
and

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Before the Night Sky

For DR… White Knight forever

Daniel was at the club. He sat at a table, drinking a beer with a few cups of water, each half-full, scattered around the table. He was in an old pair of jeans and sneakers, tugging at the navy shirt he wore, scowling at the lower-middle-class clothes he’d bought at Walmart. Staring across the club, the throbbing lights–pink, green, blue, red, purple, repeat–colored the scene differently every second. He tapped his foot in the air as he rapped his fingers across the tabletop. He swore he could hear the second hand on his watch tick-tick-ticking beneath the drone of some Top 40 hit blaring too loudly to discern its words…

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Three Years

I thought of you again tonight
when I wrote another poem
(you made me write
more poems
than anyone else)
(you make me want to write
more poems
than anyone else)
I saw you with an apple
like that day at school
you were beautiful then
(you still are
but now you’re not my friend)
It’s been three years
three long years too many
and I’m still not over you
I have to wonder
if I was ever on you
to get over you
or if
you’ve become the personification
of my idealization
I don’t like that line break
two—now three—lines back
it takes a scenario
—an if—
and turns it into fact.

Excerpted from The Antithesis of Fear

Blood and Bone and Beautiful

There I was, sitting lakeside, when I first heard the rustle of leaves from the nearby trees. We had been warned dangerous things lurked in the dark forest, had been told many times that it was far worse than forbidden, so I was rather taken aback to have heard something so close to the edge. After all, a wise friend of mine had once made it plainly clear that anything inside the forest was as likely afraid of what was outside of it as we were of what was inside, and it was precisely for this fear that it was so dangerous to trespass.

On the contrary, I’d only ever heard a single fascinating story of this forest in my life: A man had entered on the night before his wedding, and when he emerged, he had vanished, entered a world in which he had gone missing forever, and no matter who he spoke with, no one knew who he was. He’d even met his brother at a pub, one version of the story said, but even he had no idea who this stranger was! So he returned to the forest where he would live forever until all the trees had gone.

I looked up, bending my knees at an angle beneath me in case I had to spring up and run away, but right when I moved, a twig snapped and I looked to my right–and there I saw him, standing twixt two trees, half bathed in shadows, statuesque, but soft and supple: The torso of a man, barely fledgling with the hair beginning to bristle over his heart region, his neck long and sturdy, his face curious and marked with broad bones and framed by dark black locks. He caught my gaze with his pearlescent blue eyes and then darted back into the forest at once.

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