Proof there is god

The tears my mother cries as she washes dishes after dinner
Vaughn Williams on the stereo
The way my brother leans all of his weight into me when we hug
The promise my father keeps, “call me if you need anything”
The wedding, the divorce, the remarried women, the man she remarried
Women who make their own birthday cakes
And every time my brother and I refuse to part without saying “I love you”
That is god

How to wear makeup on the days you do not leave the house


Put it on.

Pull the mascara wand through your eyelashes.

Do not think about it.

Do not talk yourself out of it.

Put it on.

Pull your hair into a low bun.

Do not smile.

You don’t have to.

Smile if you want to, the decision is yours.

Smile if you can, knowing that your lips, like the rest of your body, will follow the rules of gravity before consulting you.

Put it on.

Butter the tube of lipstick across your lips. 

Fill them in.

Shape them.

Brew tea when you’re finished

Drink the tea.

Notice the stamp of your lips on the mug.

Trace it.

Or take a picture.

Or just remember it.

Or do none of this.

Maybe you feel prettier when reading.

Maybe it’s exercising.

Maybe that is still unknown.

Maybe you do not feel pretty.

Maybe you like how it feels to wake up with swollen eyes.

Maybe crying is more effective than chamomile tea.

Put it on.

Do not think about it.

Do not talk yourself out of it.

Or do none of this.

Airport Heaven


I use to fall asleep mid prayer,

trusting that a guardian angel would conclude 

the list of things I am grateful for.


I use to fall asleep mid prayer,

otherwise, I could not sleep.

I was told to thank God for the things I do not want to wake up without.


Waking up with a mouthful of unfinished prayers was a characteristic of mine.

The first seconds of consciousness pushing Hail Mary’s from my lips.


Last night, I fell asleep praying to the God of adrenaline.

I thanked her for each muscle in my body. I listed each one, starting with my eyes.

I want to wake up with all of me, even if all means cramped and uncomfortable.

I want to wake up pushing poetry into existence, calling it my child.

I want to nurture my words, I want them to feel the safety of living

between walls that do not change as the week progresses.

Wednesday evenings will mean nothing to them.

They will stay put: bags unpacked, underwear folded in the drawer where it belongs.

I will teach them to pray.

I will teach them to sleep when they are tired.

Eat when they are hungry.

Run when they must.


They will learn that it doesn’t matter whether you wake up with prayers or poetry.

What matters is what you notice.

What you notice latches onto your freckles, your moles, it tans your skin.


And if that is the case then my skin is tinted from an evening at the airport,

when the sun was setting, throwing the color of lemons and tangerines at the passengers.

The children playing chess,

a man drinking coffee with his legs propped on a suitcase,

a woman sat cross legged in a chair with her thumb and first finger are pressed together, 

squeezing her fingertips, fusing them into one. 

The wire from her ear buds fell down her chest, her eyes shut.

She does not know of the angel she has become.

No one in this airport knows of the angel they have become.


I do my best to keep track of the details, I do my best to remember what I’ve noticed.

–a purse balanced on a suitcase, a foil pouch of chocolate almonds in my lap–

My brother sits beside me. Like the rest of us, he is also an angel, wearing the descending sun like a halo.




Back and forth we went,

trying to remember the word for words 

that sound the same but are spelled differently.

A word from our youths when we were taught this 

phenomenon in a classroom. 


It was childish for us to be leaning back, arms crossed,

looking at each other. As if the word might appear without us trying.

Part of me wanted to let the word die in our forgetfulness.


Through and threw, I said 

lite and light, bare and bear.


Jean and gene, you added.


The other part of me wanted to remember.


Onomatopoeia! I said.


No, that’s a word that makes a sound like boom or zip.


A man at the table next to us leaned over.


I think the word you two are looking for is homophone.


We said the word in unison. It exhaled from our lips in shared relief. 



And like the Buddha, my day of enlightenment has arrived.

Nothing is guaranteed except the past which reads like footnotes to reference all the love worth forgetting.

  1. Hands might help a man fall in love but not just from the sight of them
  2. Hoping he’d at least fall in love with my hands
  3. Never apologize for offering
  4. Journals are important like memory because
  5. one day, if this works out, we can talk about first impressions
  6. Healed through sleep? Or slept through the healing?
  7. Forgetting, once again, that days do not end like they begin
  8. If you tell him to try poetry, his eyes might widen and become stiff because you just described his recount of finding God as beautiful and poetic
  9. I drove home for the weekend and saw a new blue in the sky, the color of sleep. Mornings in October blue. The fog around my arms and torso blue. I saw new leaves and long, quiet fields as I drove (like Polish farmland). And I thought how appropriate it would be to fall in love during autumn. 
  10. Is he a good friend to his mother?
  11. How many colors do you sleep with?
  12. Need and knead
  13. Piece and peace
  14. Flower and flour
  15. Ewe and you

Herself in Numbers


I’m learning to count behind the numbers

where Quantity keeps an inventory of all the ages you’ve been. 

You’ve been three, four, eighteen and twelve.

Thirty four, nineteen, seven. 

You’ve been behind the numbers without knowing it.

Like a slow reader trying to keep up with his classmates.

You are here.

They are there.

And this…

is where the numbers start to love you, lean into you, grow curious about you

this is where the numbers stare at you just like you’ve stared at them trying to calculate all they can do

I promise, Quantity does not want you divided away from her

You are not multipliable. 

You do not need to be added with something else to have value

You are value.

And Quantity only wants to take away the moments where you do not feel her 

Quantity only wants you to feel her.

Behind the numbers, behind the months, behind the letters

there is an inventory of growth that looks just like you.

It remembers the first time you heard an echo

The first time a laugh made you snort or cry

It remembers your first reflection

and it will remember your last.


The Description of Details


I think about all the melted chocolate, all the stained purses. 

I think about the intricacies of naming. Calling it something. 

Call it dark or white or milk. Call it almond and honey. Traces of coconut. 

Call it pinched in sea salt. 

I think about use.

I think about naive pillows, not knowing the weight of heads. 

I think about unlearning the alphabet just to start something over. 

Sound out the words again. Give attention where it is due.

I learned intentionality in the first grade, forgot it by sixth. 

I think about house plants, how loyal they are. How they would never unlearn the fundamentals of sunlight just for the sake of beginning again. 

I think about origins and Michigan.

I think about oval eyes and whipped cream lips. 

I think about distinct voices. How each is a flavor. 

I think about the night I sampled yours. A spoonful of rare, astringent honey. 

The blooming of frankincense trees in Israel. The Dead Sea in my throat. 

I think about the different varieties of love. How many can fit in one person? 

I think about sleeping without covers. 

I think about the music of simplifying worry into bed sheets that can be stripped away or tucked far beneath a mattress. 

I think about my scarred knees and how, if anyone asks, 

I’ll tell them a story that begins with a shattered snow globe.