Mind Reader

I read minds

I’ve always been able to

See what’s going on

Inside other people’s


When I was in line at the

Grocery store

The woman behind me was

Thinking that

I certainly didn’t need

Ice cream

Or hot dogs

Or Cheetos

Or doughnuts.

When I walked across the street

A man in his car

Waited for me to


Wishing that I would

Move my slow,

Fat ass

Because he didn’t have

All day

To wait for me.

In bed with a boyfriend

After having sex

He held his breath,

Hoping that I would


Because he was

Done with me

For now.

I’ve always known

When I annoy people

Disrupt their lives



And interfere.

I see it on practically

Every face.

Every day.

All the time.

That’s what happens

When you’re a

Mind reader.


Throe Pillows

I get the good pillows

The comfy pillows

He takes the bumpy


Grumpy pillow

The one he says feels like

Is stuffed with

Dead mice.

But I get

The billowy pillows

That cradle my head

While he cradles

My body

Drowning my face

As it’s thrown

All the way back

Diving deep

On both ends.

Those dreamy pillows

That I hurl on the floor

When my body is


Those damn pillows

Couldn’t stop

Couldn’t drown out the


That I didn’t want

To say

That I tried to

Hold back

But they came out


“Is it okay

if I love you?”

Time stops.

Breathing stops.

Searching for that pillow

To bury my face

Plug up my ears

Shield my eyes

From what might come

But it comes





For ice cream

And cheeseburgers

And french fries

And chocolate

Gave way to


For weight loss

And new clothes

And a pretty face

And thin legs.

Then greedy

For attention

And attraction

And excitement

And sex

Crept in.


It’s greedy

For acceptance

And affection

And time spent

And love.

People say that


Is key

Small increments

Slow growing

Naturally developing

A step at a time

But they forget…

I’m way too fucking


For my own



Most of my life

Has been a series of


The chubby girl

Spilling off those

Rusty metal strap-over

Roller skates

Breaking my arm

Because they were too hard

To tighten

Around my fat feet.


Jelly doughnuts

Chocolate milk

Ice cream and



Down my shirt

As I inhaled them

In the kitchen of the

Old man

Down the street

Who kept them there

So that he would have

A visitor.

The hands of a

Teen boy

From another school,

Spilling across my

Squishy body

In a dark basement

With priests and


Sleeping nearby,

Saying, “Wow, your arms are

As big as my legs.”

Spring Break,

My 23-year-old


Spilling across a


Bed sheets,

On the drive home

Him tossing my number

In the back seat

With my


My first real, requited


Effusively and messily

Spilling all over

A boyfriend who


Seethed at

And mocked

The joy I felt for


My whole life I’ve been


Out of clothes

Into other people’s


On airplanes

In movies

Making them


So I learned to spend

Every waking


Trying to keep it all


How can one

Giant person

Be small?

Tuck myself away

Head down

Sucked in




It was all going



The day I met


Spill in aisle two.

Checked Out

17 years.

That’s how long I was checked out

A library book

I’d forgotten to return.

It should have been pored over

By avid fans

Or even casual readers,

But instead was squirreled away

In that space between

The floor and the headboard of my bed,

The forgotten place that

Never gets light

Collecting skin cells and waking dreams

Trampled by spiders and centipedes.

When I finally reached down

Into that dusky space

And salvaged the fragile book

I regarded it with hesitation.

Was it still relevant?

Still interesting?

Was the damage too great?

The wrinkled pages and

Faded cover

Disquieted me.

I leafed through it gingerly

Fingers tugging at the history

Remembering my favorite lines

And discovering new passages that I hadn’t known

Or hadn’t remembered.

It was funny, this book

And thoughtful,

And dirty – really dirty.

There was so much inside

That could perhaps still find an appreciative audience


But what about the fine?

The price that had snowballed with the days

After all of those years

Of disuse

Could I afford it?

I was unsure

But needed to know.

So I straightened the spine

Fanned out the pages and

Wiped the cover.

I slowly walked it back

To the librarian, who asked me

What I was there to do.

I gently handed it back.


Family Tree

The tangled branches

Are crooked, bent and heavy

With a few young leaves

Scattered to the winds

And the remainders straining

At their stems,

Waiting to fall free.

In the center of the tree

Around the Nucleus,

The Wellspring,

These lumbering branches

Sprawl to jealously guard,

Fervidly mistrusting any nearing

Winds or creatures,

At times stifling and cutting her off

From needed elements.

A broken branch hangs

Near the ground

Rotted and forgotten

Destroyed by disease.

And still another bends away,

Away from the interlocking


Quietly soaking in sun

And wind and rain

Without shelter or blocking,

But also without bonds.

When blessedly, a fragile, torn leaf

From one of the tangled and

Lumbering branches

Drifts downward on a stream of wind and

Finds its way to the contented loner,

Wind-tossed into a crook

In its bent arm,

Tucked away, protected

And yet remarkably symbiotic.

No longer rootless

No longer alone

Together they bend

They seek the sun

They drink the rain

And they grow stronger.

And therefore so too does the tree.


He walks the dog

He carves the pumpkins

He trudges up hills

He runs through parks

He writes methodically

He strings Christmas lights

He gets tickets to shows

He feeds me oysters

He plans out hikes

He photographs the world

He brings me water

He turns up the heat

He makes me laugh

He knows I’m anxious

He holds my hands

He warms my feet

He kisses my face

He locks us together

He genuinely wants

To know

To see

To explore