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Flooded with off-key carousel
music days careen by, dizzying
thoughts, meaning more blown out
than a famous self-taught trumpeter’s cheeks.
Patted down & packed into shrinking
seats, I feel myself ballooning into less.

Flew away yet took it all with me, on fire
doused in northwest tranquility. Obscured
by clouds in the brain, I knew a mountain
was in there somewhere. Yet nothing
cooled me off, not even wading pale feet
in glacial run-off. Faded blue peaks
& white waves, endless pebbles worn smooth
& unnecessary. Nina’s autocorrect texts
that I’m “a lil sideways & lonely,”
& while incomplete, it’s never been more
true. Traveled 2200 miles from
& back to ruin, unable to shake
what gnaws. Stumbled inside the front door
with a suitcase full of sea rocks
& dirty clothes that cover pounds of anguish.

Beauty has maimed me forever—
I know her by her full, natural name.
I’m caught in the meanwhile as summer
barrels toward fall
& every question whittles
down to do I keep dragging flesh
off my soul or cut the damn line?


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