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Sample Poems

My poetry explores a range of topics including queer sexuality, the lasting impacts of global pandemics and parallels between the aging human body and global climate crisis .

(photo credits for this page - K. Max Mellenthin)

FONT, from The Unbuttoned Eye

I like your blonde curls in bar light. The silver

foil peels from a beer. There’s a little ocean


in your green eyes, a lot of sad. You talk about the drive

down from Skowhegan, pulling over twice so he


could heave. A long day of waiting at Maine Medical,

beloved backbones a constant reminder the body once


had weight. I take you to my room, the Motel 6 in Portland.

You whisper how he’s lost the strength to walk, so for weeks


you’ve carried him like a child learning a waltz. You tell me how,

lifted from the bed, he places lesioned soles on top of your feet,


how you walk backward toward the bathroom, how in all

those weeks you haven’t cried. You roll white socks,


slip them into Reeboks. After apologetic sex, I tell you,

Get up. Towering, I tell you, Put your feet on mine. Arms


wrapping shoulders, cheek against chest, I walk us

to the motel window, listen to your jag of breath,


whimper of weeping for a man I’ll never meet. I memorize

the font of a red 6, the cigarette smell of your hair.

- first published, Tar River Poetry

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A BREAK IN SHADE, from The Heavy of Human Clouds

I’ve named the boulder

shaped like the corpse of a horse

Quartz, dappled with lichen

and moss. In the shadow

garden, I water


the bloated belly, drooping

Coleus, tender Bishop’s

Hat, snowy-edged

Hosta I split with a spade.

The hose coupling


clacks over stone, a tap

like the case of a childhood

clarinet dragged along

the wall of an institution

called school –

                          I’m head-

locked                      sniffing


           hairy hydrangea


sweet armpit                of the bully –


                      slack leaves

                                                     leading me

            to watering –


the horsy bulge                                   in a bad boy’s jeans


and the shade –


percussive                    retreating                     wood



- first published, Passages North

HOW TO EAT LOBSTER, The Chestnut Review

Softer than college friends, my lobsterman

is solid as a callus, a desired scratch, sky-eyed

with an upright I don’t trust, sexy as sunlight

on a harbor seal. Tight bearded, blonde,


he takes me to a pound. At our table on Cape

Porpoise, steamers, bibs we don’t wear, hot sea water.

I confess, I’ve never ordered live ones.

Mom bought me rolls. There’s sweet meat


in the legs, he says. Start there, break them off,

bite down, inch it in your mouth. Now,

snap off the tail. We peel back green tomalley.

Dipped, his bearded lip meat, chewy.


He calls it eating watermelon. The sailor savors

my slice of pink – beach blankets, belly down,

the open bills of gulls. Flying with those high

grey birds, I wonder – If I give him tongue,


will I taste his heart? I flip it up, find slick force

in the boyish body of an older lover. 

Bent in a shared breath, we smell the salt

of crashing. Now, split the claw, use the cracker,


open knuckles, shove fingers in the shell.

We rinse, drop sea flesh in cloudy water.

The nut pick slips and bloodies my thumb.

He reaches across the table, takes my hand


and drinks. Blood and butter, the taste of touch

with a tongue. Love, a shattered urchin smashed

on stone. That pile of shell. The hammer of his hips,

skinned outside a cabin overhanging cliffs.

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