Spring Cleaning

 on my summer dress
 washed a thousand times
 the brown spot, which is supposed to be
 white and pure like the rose I gave my mother
 the tile floors are red and I am an off-white egg
 my yolk drips onto your head
 your laugh fills the walls
 we are in a cave
 is forgiveness,
 is hope, is surrender,
 my mother took the petals
and turned them red just like her lips
how remembering that always was
moment of being sucked dry
i scrubbed for days
i am white

Washing Up 

my hands    are dirty

I’ve been


hit bone, hit earth,

hit rock, hit bone
You are gone
deep in Earth’s


away from the


of my heart
You are dead
my hands

are dirty

I’ve been


up your


from the rug
Red finger tips

like my mother’s


I thought I was her

then there was


consuming me

like a


I bit the bait

but never bled

Indigo Sun

The sun burns my skin. It is hot, strong, and smells of      fire. I cook, I bake, I let the      rays from the sky shoot into my     pores. I sweat. I burn, I tan. I am     bronze, I am olive, the color of my grandmother, the color of my     ancestors.

I look down at my     blue veins, the same ones which run along my     mother’s thin hands. The blood inside pumps, thick with vengeance, thick with the     sadness that I try to escape from. I fail. It lies     deep in my connective tissue. Indigo lines connect to my heart, connect me to     her.

The sky is aquamarine, with cotton clouds that float     effortlessly. I try to look up, but the sun blinds my eyes. As a     kid, I tried to look at the sun for as long as I could     stand. I was amazed by the fire, the light, the     burn. The heat warmed my     chilled bones.

Somewhere,     Lil is looking up at the same     sky and looking down at these same     veins.

I was Seven When She Loved Me

My mother sits outside with our neighbor, drinking red wine, mingling with the starry sky. I run, barefoot and fast, into the night. She is at ease while we live in Sayreville. I’m not sure if it’s the wine or the sound of the cicadas. In the summer, my mother is free. As am I, being a child, playing with the earth. 

Years later, we become shackled. Far apart, but stuck together with tree sap. 

Red Goo


lies within       me
red light bulbs burn hot
tomato sauce that bubbles
on stove
my mother’s fiery eyes
I clean the kitchen every night
but it
with crumbs in between cracks of floor
sticking to
of feet
               why bother
                                                             it doesn’t
when it just is never clean
Consistency is key
I am Power
   burning through blue veins
       burning through the stove
 when the        grill pan                     smokes
I am Ice
  like my mother’s stare
     like my feet on the tile
  like snow

Open Wounds

In an Action Writing Workshop, the first time Annie Lanzillotto had me write spiral-style, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t really understand what it meant to start from the outside of a scene, and make my way in, or vice versa. I just thought and ran with it. This is what I produced on that magical yellow swirl:

Julie holds my hand
“Pain is beauty,” the man says
The chair is cold
11 years old
“Pick which studs you like.”

Cotton ball beneath my ear
burning, yearning
through my flesh

Where’s my mother?
She wouldn’t take me
The second needle


I don’t know
if my mother held me
when I cried.
I may have been left in my room
with the moonlight
to muffle my sobs,
while she hummed a tune
and swept the floor,
hushing the voices…
Hug her.

            Her skinny legs
            would shuffle across the floor
            when I was 13,
            and she danced to Barry white
         My first, my last, my everything…
            My mother didn’t laugh much
            but this was so fun.

            I watched from down the hall,
            her dark brown perm
            flipping with every sway.
            She snapped her long fingers
            to the beat.
            I wished she was singing to me.
            I wanted to be
            her first, her last, her everything.

I don’t know why
I’d rather not be held
when I cry.
But my mother does.
I sit alone in my room
and watch my reflection
crumble in the mirror.
I talk to myself
to hush the voices…
Call her.