Wednesday, December 4, 2019


I was driving down Route 51
when I felt a teeth-clanging jolt.
I assumed it was my car,
maybe something wrong with the transmission,
so I pulled over
but quickly felt it again,
like being struck by an invisible freight train.
Then I saw the jagged crack, lightning-shaped,
in the black asphalt,
a fracture that widened with every subsequent quake.
I thought I saw something,
so I got out of the car,
peered into the crack in the middle of the road,
broken yellow divider lines.
I looked into the crevasse,
where black smoke was pouring out,
and flames licked the surface of the road.
I noticed then that the asphalt was hot,
the soles of my shoes sticking to the melted tar.
Under my feet was a lake of fire.
They later told us it would burn for a hundred years.
But what I never told anyone else
is that when I peered into the fiery fissure,
I saw something looking back at me,
a very large, black-lidded green eye
narrowed with hate as it met my gaze.

Parent-Teacher Conference

Her eyes were wide,
black pupils fixed on me.
A little bit of frothy white spittle 
flew out of her mouth as she shouted at me.
Teeth bared, tiny red lipstick stain 
on her front tooth.
“Don’t you walk away from me!”
she commanded.
“How dare you say such a thing
to my daughter!”
This daughter’s stare
was fixed to the ground,
her shame an invisible
but magnetic spot at her feet.
“I’ll have your job!”
her mother insisted.
Other teachers, other parents,
curious, gleeful students
stopping mid-stride now,
staring, waiting
for a violent resolution.
I was fixed to the spot,
not ashamed,
not apologetic,
but frozen in the moment
like a hapless Neanderthal
caught in an avalanche.


Too warm, too sweet, too sticky, too dark,
it rushes toward me, towering over my head.
I close my eyes and my mouth barely in time
as the black tidal wave of molasses washes over me,
knocks me to the hard ground, then abducts me
along with everything else in its path.
I struggle to keep my head above its viscous fingers,
clutching my neck now, pulling me downward,
baptizing me in a river of angry sugar.