the archetype

heather uses the travel-sized paint set,
because she is, in fact, traveling.

and heather paints her nails, mindlessly
washing the blue back into our fractured universe,

this microcosm that we’ve built in the bed of my truck.
we are slow-tumbling planets:
all out of orbit.
all sucking in the black and the salt

like deep sea fish with no eyes. only incandescence and
scales that peel down like oranges.

we are soft and selfish beneath this roof,
an open, burning sky of queens
and queers

all combusting
in quiet arcs of light. and all the sadness of
forgotten Greek heroes.

those luminous, painted bodies that
we’ve trapped above us.

celestial, we recoil
while writing

our very own


there is no sound when I dream.
and sometimes, no faces

only silent, silhouetted figures with
pinpoint edges and

an accusation that hangs, is sharpened by
the contrast of
this mouth of mine: cracked
in the back and dusty,

sand pouring out.
and pouring down
until I feel myself emptied,

hollowed like a gourd and

standing atop my very own, flimsy

but I am told that we all start out like this,
and at the end,
my words will sprout like seeds, they say,

foresting the landscape with an underbrush

so thick and rich and


that the soil will blacken in my name

stray dogs

in Delhi

and the great
silent h

of a crumbling

here, where
stray dogs
litter the streets
like garbage

and the in-betweens
of the Sikhs

who slide
like bangles

-and eyes-

my shoulder,
peering down

into a city
where the women

are decorated
and smooth as sandstone

a place where
I will never

the luxury
of going unseen.

a spectacle
of a devil
to behold,

as foreign as
the tea
to the rim
of my teacup

and the hum

the multitude
of dogs.