Passages: ‘The Pines’

Evergreen, the woodland of my thoughts, 

a forest of redolent firs, copious coppice verdigris, 

by the calloused hands of callous men left yet unmarred, 

their industrious futility, futile industry untainted, untouched




So honored & thrilled that a poem of mine was selected for The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2017!! This is especially exciting, knowing that it was a committee of dedicated high school students—working with series editor Daniel Gumbiner and this year’s guest editor Sarah Vowell—that made the selections. Thank you for believing that my work should be “nonrequired reading.” 

What a beautiful thing: reading not for an assignment or to fulfill anything but your own desire to experience delight and to inhabit a different way of seeing. Thanks also to Vowell for the special mention at the end of her introduction! I’m blown away to find myself in the company of Ta-Nehisi Coates, Teju Cole, Kima Jones, my former teacher George Saunders, & others. And thanks to Alex Dimitrov who first published this poem in the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series.

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Ululations: ‘Fabricia’

To each their own, or so they say;

Though what do I know of such words,

Having given so much of myself to you, the world



Passages: ‘Sepulture of Fallen Leaves’

At their sepulture I stood, 

trimmed in Autumn’s tenebrous shade; 

hushed, the exequy - mother’s arms left fallow, aged



Passages: ‘Hide and Seek’

Like deadened things now, the trees –

sun and moon as well as they take shelter in the fog -

count down the days till Maytime in a jejune game of Hide and Seek



Passages: ‘The hour has lost its beauty’

as have I - 

the wisdom of youth lost, age gained, 

met by the galling breath of winter, summer’s lie



Passages: ‘The Butterfly’

A girl much like the Southern Broken Dash, 

born brown, red and orange of hue, small of stature, 

fed on sweet Pepperbush, Pickerelweed and Selfheal, 

and bred along river and wood, Paspalum, St. Augustine grass