I swim through late night rendezvous

 featuring old Christmas music,

my nose guiding me towards Coppertone dreams.

Coconut lime incense soaks the curves and ripples of my mind

when my heart wants to fly

through my chest

across the sky.


I am content

only when Bahama Mama sand fills my black sea roots.

I am at ease when the sun turns pink and the trees follow suit.

I play tag with the breeze, forever “it” in the space

I lease from the wind.

I am happiest when the lights go out and the stars fade in.


I crave secret shells in my soles hiding

last night as I walk through the door,

eyes adjusting

to the dawn.

Stale goodbyes blow around me in rings

when my lips start to treble about the hymns

I used to sing.

I repeat

the prayers daddy taught me

to the boardwalk. It is here I can be

the golden girls’ child. It is here I am allowed

a sly girl’s smile.


I am happiest

when my skin sticks to me in humidity fit for those who don’t mind

Pearl Jam guitar riffs.

I am happiest when the peach coals get too hot and

I’ve run out free Pandora skips.

The watercolour sunset reminds me of how tiny I am, and

I am humbled into ignorance;

happiness as a speck on Mother Earth,

a seam in her bed sheet sundress.


I am content when the trees are christened “palm”

in the hands of God’s celestial windows,

when sand and sugar

look like twins.

When I peek over my new horizon,

pages bent and twisted in sea salt,

I see the past in flavoured bottle caps.

Frank X. Walker floats with me in my American spirit ash.

I see my home

in Affrilachian

poets, in their ink that stains my knees.

I see my home

in a grumpy yard,

where crab apples threaten the trees.

I-65 boasts a single tune:

straight C’s for miles on 103.1—the max.

I long to hear seashell phone calls and seagull static on the waves.

My new horizon sinks my golden arms;

 I see the others who wasted their rays.


I see my home in the Statues of Liberty,

in the statutory settlement

of a once- coal town

with Ohio oil stains.

I see my home on Market Street,

in the painted winds of Zephyr.

My roots shrivel

up in their black sea braid and beg

to bless Derby hat feathers.

Goosebumps call me back to Kentucky,

to Louisville pride of horses and bourbon. 

They call me back to the wandering eyes 

on a street of 756,000. 


Need to talk?

If you ever need help or support, we trust CrisisTextline.org for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741