The Suffering Game


Mother wins the suffering game

She cares for the sick


Big Brother is the runner up

He pays for the sick and for Mother to live better than sick

Only his Mondays count


Little Brother plays a private suffering game

And is left alone to tend his odds


I lose the suffering game

My baby is a balloon smile and his father

Loves us every day with capable hands


As the loser of the game

I am given a brick to hang from my face


In this small way I help bring life

Something closer to fair


Originally published by Red Savina Review




The Sun Coast


Father does not know he is in Cancelada.


Mother said dinner is fun and the boats are big in Puerto Banús.


We are taking Father to a hospital in Estepona.


Reservations for lunch await in a white restaurant in Mijas.


He fell last night in Ronda.


We must be patient; the doctor lives in Málaga.


A 24-hour pharmacy is open in San Pedro.


The greetings we’d send are ash in Marbella.


Gibraltar is closed anyway.





A Notion of Marriage


Because I am a poet,

I read about things like the center of skin.

About warm bodies coming together in the dark,

and how it can be the meaning of life

when someone gets it right.


And I know I should write about things

like a moving chest and a naked back.

About the coming together of life in the dark,

about our common desire

and the verbs that it took.


And it should be universal,

but personal.

My moving chest, your naked back.

The notion of marriage,

of children, of daily love.

Shrinking rooms

beneath the surface

of different meaning words.


But I don’t see the dark jaw

in the night,

or the soft center of touch spring alive.

There is effort and a plan.

There is marriage,

a shrinking room,

daily love,

and a baby that eats time.


We do not say flesh when we mean sex.

We say, “It’s about right.”

And, “It would be nice.”

We confirm how long it’s been

before we ask one another to get up

and make the bedroom



Originally published by “Aviary Review”



Cover hand-drawn by Miami-based artist Adrian Avila