Poem Audio #3 – “Space” / “Two Boys”


Two more poems: “Space” and “Two Boys.” The full text for each poem is included below the audio player. Enjoy!


I read the other day

That the human body can briefly survive

The hard vacuum of space unprotected,

And I’ve never been more afraid than I was then,

Sitting quietly at a table, drinking coffee.


I dreamed you and I were astronauts,

Breathing into screens, fingers in padded gloves,

Drifting in the black, until suddenly,

You peeled your suit straight off your arms

And pushed into the dark.


I wanted to reach you on the radio,

Try every channel, all my digital rhetoric,

Just to have you back,

But you slowly grew smaller,

A white star fading from the frame


Until you disappeared.


I wanted more time to hold you in orbit,

To see the constellations

Reflecting in your eyes,

To prove I could protect you

From the cold of this wide universe.


But I was left there, suspended,

Playing over and over in my mind

The singular curve of your hand

As your fingers unwound themselves from mine

And you said you needed space.


“Two Boys”

Every man is twice a boy –


once, through the swinging years of wildness,

two barrels of bone and breath

in his fiery chest,

hands on the hot road,

toothless summers of

grapes and tall grass,

the braille of bumps on the high dive –


and again, in the final minute,

when his breath stays in his mouth,

and his fingers itch

for his mother

Poem Audio #2 – “Little Icarus” / “Braces”


This week’s Poem Audio features two poems on childhood: “Little Icarus” and a new poem “Braces”. The full text for each poem can be found below the audio player. Enjoy!

“Little Icarus”


Little Icarus stood by the wood chips.


He was twelve when both his wings broke, tangled up,

Trying to tear through the fabric of his polo,

Caught beneath the floorboards of his shoulder blades

As his cheeks flushed with shame.


He wore a slipshod buzz cut and chubby jowls that

Framed his braces and the crooked grin they fenced in,

Standing alone as yesterday’s rain lay simmering on the blacktop.


A blur of children sprinted past him, laughing,

And he buried his dry tongue beneath the dirt in his throat,

The stiffness of death in the mouth of a boy

Who never knew what to say.


Not a word about the jungles he’d seen in gym,

The knotted rope of humiliation and the sting of the lash

As the rich kid rat-tailed his back in the locker room

And all the cool boys snickered behind their elbows,

The cute girls giggling later over sandwiches.


But don’t you fear, little man,

For I have brought an army of book nerds,

Dreamers and choir singers,

Carrying their lisps and scars in rucksacks,

Glasses, buck teeth, and southern accents,

The boys who cry at movies and the girls who still have nightmares,

Walking our bikes over to invite you to our treehouse

Where white-out is outlawed

And your freckles are the confetti of God

Like He cut up the birthday cake of the sun just for you.


And together there, we’ll patch your feathers

And tell a couple of stories

Before we lean our heads back against the beams of our home,

Look up at the stars through the crack in our creaky roof,

And slowly drift to sleep.



I am thirteen years old,

And I hate the small bike chain glued to my teeth

That keeps me from the perfect kiss

I have planned for six months.


My smile is magnetic, tangled in wire,

My hello smothered in sparks,

My words, nicked and flickering in my mouth,

Fly in a hundred pinprick flashes, embers rising

From the fire in my chest.


Perhaps I can fence my garbled mouth

With the fan of my hand, breathe to you

In smoke signals, or tell you how I feel

Through the notes we write, unhindered

By chain-link and spotted iron.


Or maybe you will read my mind,

Your eyes pressed close against the glass

Of the space between us, peering beyond

My mouthful of radio, torn antenna,

Stainless steel.


But though I have worn this metal for many months,

Turning over the flavor of tin in my tongue

Behind the hard-wired cable in my mouth,

I was thirteen years old when you let me lean close

And close my eyes –

The first time I have ever been shocked.