“The Allergy Test” and Two Poems

The Allergy Test

The doctor said you wear black
well, but you might consider
changing your wardrobe.

My closet clutched herself.
In this life, I hold on to what
echoes my body, what marks me
as one of my people.
I don’t wear black
to mourn. I armor myself
against a world that makes me itch.
I want to believe love is where
I am safe in my own body. To let go
of pain as an anchor. There is a look
to every exchange, a kind of weather.


What did you buy for me
in Connecticut? A small,
strange gift
, you wrote.
We met at a lakeside retreat.
You were perpetually emo
with a voice like a struck
match. In your black t-shirt
you would lose your sulk
if I glanced at you too long.
You had raccoon black eyeliner
& a dangling chain wallet
like a Hot Topic teen. In your
notebook, you wrote where
do I put this lust?
because you
had a woman & still listened for
when I stepped out of the pool
at night. Back in the city,
over brunch, I said OK when you
told me you didn’t identify
as a woman & I meant to ask
what pronouns you used.
I got lost in your swirled hair.
You invited me to a party
& arrived with a new woman
younger than us. I took a selfie
with your teacup dog. How many
women did you walk through
to reach me? You refused
to dance, but I would not leave
without joy, not after Orlando.
Out of tired politeness, I danced
with your date, who looked
up at me, submissive & intent.
Was it an audition? She said
polyamory worked for her,
the rest of Mormonism
did not. My religion was
that I didn’t share. You kept
drinking & I left early, sober.
The last time I saw you it was
raining at a protest rally.
We were strangers in the crowd.
You had no umbrella & I did
& neither of us could move.

Beach Date with End of the Alphabet Game

What is the deal with nightingales?
Orchids don’t need perfume,
they’ve got their immaculate
beauty. You don’t have
too many questions
as you arrange yourself
around me. I didn’t want
to bring razors, but it
was all I could think of,
yikes. In my sunglassed sight
I scan the sand for signs
of my shell. A tumbleweed
rolls through. Hello
says the ocean, a kind of
reverse umbrella. This guy
is trying to stick to me
like velcro. Water,
clean this quiet. In conversation
I’m always waiting for my
xylophone cue. His mouth
is a yellowjacket, a blasted
wandering yellowjacket.
I wish the zoo would start
the stampede, the lions
carrying me aloft.

Abundant, Useless, & Utterly Mine.

I have never been able to afford a dress that did not smell like death. /
Even the moths lust for cashmere instead of polyester.

follow the moon

maybe i wake and feel the wind move through my body
/ but she reminds me what love lives in this skin, / says stay. says stay anyways.