Select Poems

Blackbird. 2019. “Canción de Cuna” and “Zero, 2018.”

New Ohio Review. 2019.  “Now In Color.”

Anomaly. 2018 “The Other Side of Giving” and “My Life.”

Canary: A Literary Journal of the Environmental Crisis. 2017. “Without the Flood.”

Interim: A Journal of Poetry and Poetics. 2017.  “oscuro,” “rueda,” and “huerta.”

Wildness Journal. Platypus Press. 2017. “Scene 1: Doorway,” and “Scene 2: Everyone had expectations about what should happen next.”

Blackbird. 2016. “Accountability for Your Blind Sheep,” “Somewhere Else in Texas.”

Connotation Press. 2016. “This Name,” “Azul for Water,” and “The Dead Dream Us.”

Qu Literary Magazine. 2016. “Water Theory.” and “Hero,”

Cider Press Review. 2015. “Melanie Griffith and The Lion.”

Into the Teeth of the Wind. 2015. “Reflections After Encountering a Loose Dog.”

The Missing Slate. 2015. “God in Translation.

Giants’ Faces Held in the Hills

Late morning we occupy the space of our shadows
escorted each week through the yard of small white stones,
of whale-blue buildings named Palo Verde, Cactus, Kennedy,
Roosevelt, and the two spruce trees called sentries.

Neither inmate nor correctional officer,
I am between their words and the invisible women
that occupy workshop with descriptions of their hair
like water from a dry spring. My co-instructor and I,

we are new statues. We are pinstriped cotton shirts
and blue pants. We are slender fish between the gates. We
are our family’s names beside students also fathers, also
husbands, also sons, also inmates in their orange reminders.

Here they say, we are not cyclopses. Thank you for not staring.
We talk about Bishop’s fish returning to the water
with its hooked gums, about Pound’s apparitions.
It seems this prison is also a world beneath worlds.

Its residents speak to the outside from booths beneath sentries.
On ceremony, some gather in the sweat lodge gated under sun.
And I see none of this until a morning when the yard
is clear of orange, when we look past our shadows and theirs.

At its finish, they say, drive safe. We exit the yard.
Exit sally port, returning our radios. Exit door and outer gate until
the desert is un-netted from barbs and chain link. Until next time,
we return to giants’ faces held in profile against the dark hills.

previously published in cream city review

Lion Lights
—after Richard Turere’s invention to protect livestock near the Kenyan savanna

We may never know what it’s like for a predator to enter our gate
and drag away the cow / We may never know / what it is like to be the predator
found in the grass / then dragged into town by the hind paws
hearing this is my territory / That is yours

Cows didn’t always live by the savanna / neither did the boy
who leads them to grasslands / who says / A lion for a cow
What does it matter / after both lie still in the yard / the lions

still coming / The boy builds the compromise

in a modified car battery / linked to lights running off solar
after so many shunned scarecrows / hung
dewy and limp / At night / torch bulbs flash for the lions
glinting off their eyes / glinting off the dull cows’ eyes

So the lions move toward zebra foals / The boy
enters in the morning with feed and draws the milk / We want to say
to ourselves Lion is a thief / is a drunk driving their car
into our tree / is a mortician / who steals corneas / But no

The lion / is a lion / was / will be a lion / We don’t know
what a lion is outside / the cage / the channel / the big cat rescue farm
How are we / outside the lion / Sometimes we’re just
straw stuffed in our old clothes / sometimes we move / Lion moves too

previously published in The Citron Review

Neighborhood as Labyrinth_6

previously published in Halophyte Magazine: Mapping/Walking

The River

The river arrives from high heels, crossed legs, pregnancy.
Who knows? It’s dappling her thigh now in purple,
green reeds, and yellow mushrooms.

Bog turtle, salamander, pink river dolphin
gathered here in jars, exist in her along shallows
shaded by overgrown trees, the narrow hulls of boats nesting.

Some say my mother’s veins are drowned water
from the Ice Age, when the original stream was flooded over.
And if that’s true, her veins are less a map and more
a pattern of lightning strikes.

Once we were all in the estuary of her.
Once we were axolotl pressing our newfound hands
into the river bottom, pushing off.

previously published in New Plains Review

Tour of the Golden Gate: An Epilogue for Kees

Mom’s harbor cruise has us
pinched by the cold edges of sky
and its momentary shadow. We rock, catching ourselves
while the bridge overhead promises to stay
and the wind rasps, curling hair into knots.

We snap pictures of the latticed triangles
pointing heads, pulling the bridge into one,
and I can’t help thinking of death,
the hole we all orbit toward.
Brief as a plunge breaking and burying
that exclamation of flight.

Later, on its paved arch and knobby bolts,
we admire the red tubes, riding from dock to tower.
And everyone waits a moment, to count the rails and suspenders,
to lean over the side, to watch people looking back.
It’s the human condition to be in transit—
always east of setting desires on the missed bus,
on the twinkling plane ascending into the dark.

When I think of you alone on the pier
or stepping on a cigarette outside Bimbo’s 365 Club,
I see that it’s easier to follow in groups, to refuse the homeless,
and to watch our step when they say so.
But sometimes we take comfort in thinking we might be missed
if our minds were in such a state to leap, to get away.
I try to believe they are the same thing—death
and that long walk to Mexico.

previously published in Solo Novo: Art and Revolution

esperanza [ES-pear-AHN-sah] noun (f) :

Migration is written on this green heartache
of home, once its own discovery of water—
the Aztecs’ Metztlixcictlico meaning
place in the center of the moon.

Some are used to hopes being what they’ve been.
But singing one octave is Kansas to Oz. For a while,

my father didn’t know that the movie changed
to Technicolor since the family TV was black and white.


salvaje [sahl-VAH-heh] adjective :

In grief, we cannot explain the body’s
tenderness, its heaviness.

Without tears, the animal nurses
an old shoe for weeks.


previously published online in Public Pool: One Space for All Poets (website discontinued)

You and I Saw the Animals


Lion summertime swallowed us up year after year.
We sisters picked neighbors’ apricots, peaches, nectarines.
We swung our legs—acrobats on ponies—from bike pedals to handlebars.

We puffed air into the nylon of our swimsuits
to make breasts like mermaids, the water holding them up.
That was when we started wearing swimsuits.

We were wetting our hair in front of our faces
then rolling the damp sheet of it back
to look like George Washingtons,
the hose twirling in the pool
until the last warm day had already passed,
the water too cold for you and for me.


We listened to longer books on our parents’ bed,
illustrated Greek mythology.
How silly all those gods and grown-ups,
chasing the sun, opening boxes, looking back.

Odysseus had built that olive tree bed, each bedpost
a growing tree trunk.
But Penelope was alone, sleeping
on the left or right side of the bed,
then spread out in the middle.

Each night, it was as if we could undo our own weaving . We could
start the next day as the last, living it over, perfecting it.
It was as easy as unlacing our fingers from one another.

While Odysseus was off on one of those promises, we were sure
the bed had grown enough to lift off the roof.
Inside became outside. Animals wandered in following moths following light.


We thought of lion summertime, speckled deer, antsy rabbits,
baboons, green parrots and crows sidestepping her bed’s branches,
invisible to the suitors, who only saw Penelope.

But the crows weren’t there for love, just olives, which they took
in the mornings like they do on our street, when the fruit fell purple and fat.
Stepping on split olives on bedcovers, they made crowsfeet all over.

This is the story you told me in the attic of our garage.
I could feel the spotted fur of the leopard, the feathered necks
of flamingoes.
We were all of those animals at once,

until you were bored waiting for love.
You flew down the attic’s drop ladder,
leaving me
in the rafters. You begin to sing.

previously published in Poet Lore


Now In Color: full collection of poems. Perugia Press. 2020.
Nectar and Small: chapbook of poems. Finishing Line Press. 2019.

Periodicals / Poetry

Digging Through The Fat.
Forthcoming Spring. “Walking with You in Santorini.”
Poetry Northwest.
Forthcoming. “Particles.”
2. Forthcoming Fall. “My Rita Hayworth,” “Spanish Language Film House, 1930s,” and “Mexico as Mexico, 1914.”

 Fall 2019. “Canción de Cuna” andZero, 2018.”
Hayden’s Ferry Review. 
64. Spring/Summer 2019. “Self-Portrait as Minotaur.” 140. (Winning a 2019 Intro Journal Award selected by Stephanie L. Harper)
Miramar Magazine. 8. 2019.
“The Queen of Technicolor.” 99.

New Ohio Review
. 2019 Summer Exclusive. Online
. “Now In Color.”

26. Online. 
“The Other Side of Giving” and “My Life.”
Halophyte Magazine: Mapping/Walking. 1. “Neighborhood as Labyrinth” and “trazar un mapa.” n. pag.
Poet Lore. Fall/Winter 2018. 113:3/4. “Alas translates to wings.” 54.
Swamp Ape Review. Spring 2018. 1. “Because we saw it in the movies,” and “Speculations on Disappearance.”15-16.

Canary: A Literary Journal of the Environmental Crisis. 37. Summer 2017. Online.
“Without the Flood.”
Interim: A Journal of Poetry and Poetics. 34:4. Online. “oscuro,” “rueda,” and “huerta.”
Public Pool: One Space for All Poets
. July 2017. Online. “esperanza,” “salvaje,” “Some Horses.”
Wildness Journal. Platypus Press
. 8. April 2017. Online.
“Scene 1: Doorway,” and “Scene 2: Everyone had expectations about what should happen next.”

Blackbird. 15:1. Spring 2016. Online. “Accountability for Your Blind Sheep,” “Somewhere Else in Texas.”
Cobalt. 16. 26 January 2016. Online. “Diptych.” 23.
Connotation Press. 1:8. September 2016. Online. “This Name,” “Azul for Water,” and “The Dead Dream Us.”
cream city review: the other side of the mirror folio. 39:2 Fall/Winter 2015-2016. “Giants’ Faces Held in the Hills.” 85.
Existere. 35:1. “Tradition of the Body,” 39. “How is apology inspired?” 40.
New Plains Review. Fall 2016. “The River: My Mother’s Spider Veins.” 5.
Poet Lore. 111:3/4. Fall/Winter 2016. “You and I See the Animals.” 30-31.
Qu Literary Magazine. 3. 2016. Print and Online. “Water Theory.” 46, and “Hero,” 48.
Southern Humanities Review. 50:3&4. “Finger Puppet in the Likeness of Frida Kahlo.” 62.
Spillway: Seasons. 24. Summer 2016. “Amargosa Opera House, Death Valley,” 32.

The Citron Review. Fall 2015. 15 September 2015. Online. “Lion Lights.”
Cider Press Review. 17:3. 1 July 2015. Online. “Melanie Griffith and The Lion.”
Cactus Heart. 12 e-Issue. Summer 2015. “Appetite Upgrade,” 103.
Into the Teeth of the Wind. 13. 2015. Print and Online. “Reflections After Encountering a Loose Dog.” 34. “Naked Paper Dolls.” 95.
Mead Magazine. 9. Spring 2015. Online.  “Sundried.”
Miramar Magazine. 3. 2015. “Cosmos Again,” “Becoming a Mammal.” 132-133.
The Missing Slate. Weekend Poem. 8 February 2015. Online. “God in Translation.

A Sense of Place. Riverside Art Museum exhibit catalogue. Summer 2011. “Impressions.” n. pag.
Revealing Character. Riverside Art Museum exhibit catalogue. Fall 2011. “The Unsupervised Day Dream.” n. pag.
San Pedro River Review. 2:2. Fall 2014. “Ulithi.” 45.
Solo Novo: Art and Revolution. 3. 2013. “Tour of the Golden Gate: An Epilogue for Kees.” 29.

Periodicals / Fiction

Jabberwock Review. 37:1. Summer 2016. “When You’re Dating The End.” 95-96. Flash Fiction.
The Gateway Review. 2:2. Spring 2016. “The World Briefly Underwater.” 21-32. Story.
(Winning story for the 2nd place in fiction Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout Award in Writing at ASU 2016 and the 2nd place award for The Gateway Review, 2016)

Revealing Character. Riverside Art Museum exhibit catalogue. Fall 2011. “Climbing Rose.” n. pag. Flash Fiction.