the baseball bat

as a child i can remember him
slipping away from the house
into the shed, then reappearing
with a hand-made baseball bat,

one of the many he crafted long
ago for a forgotten ozark team.
they all shattered or cracked
from wear, and we believed

all were lost. but after he died
we found a bag inside the shed
under years of dirt and dust,
twelve baseball bats remained.

i keep one near my desk, still
smooth with the brand burned
deep in the wood like the many
memories of him upon our minds.


i remember the scent of honeysuckle
as you drove us through the countryside,
our bloodshot eyes still stinging
from our all-night charade in the city.
you said – I don’t want to do that again.
Ever. – and then you said nothing more.

i don’t remember when you fell asleep,
only the car lights blinding my eyes,
the grass wet with mist and blood,
and the smell of smoke. i couldn’t see
you pinned beneath the car, glass
scattered on the ground like shattered
bits of loss, irreparable, irreplaceable.


* “you” first appeared in Panoply, Issue 7, Summer 2017.

perfect loss

Embed from Getty Images

into the fire
out seared

immersed in water
the afterglow surges
enters again


you are the looming gray cloud
overhead everywhere ominous
a reminder of rain too long absent

pour yourself onto this field
where cracks and lines trace
the years of scorching loss

i stand in your shade
a respite from an unyielding sun
waiting for your rushing flood