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 May 14 Travis Kroeker
Mik
embrace me

drizzle syrupy whispers in my ear
press powdered lips to the back of my neck

your candy shell around my creamy center,
our licorice legs twirl together,

drift to sleep on egyptian cotton candy


I can't sleep

but I'm not sugar high
when we kiss I taste aspartame

sweet, but artificial
still, so close to the real thing

or maybe I just can’t tell the difference?
If not for the hair
caught in the corner
where the broom
cannot reach,
I would never know
that you were here.

And if not for the corner
where the broom
cannot reach -
if not for the moulding
that pinned it -
if not for the wall
and the ceiling’s crease -
if not for the rafters
and shingles,
there we would be no hair.

And if not for the hair,
there would be no fingers,
no soft care to tie a single knot,
then carry it to the window
and release you there.

And if not for the window,
if not for the wind,
if not for the wake -

A nest and blue eggs come April.
 Mar 2020 Travis Kroeker
Sandoval
Sea
You said you

were made to

swim free;

but, my darling

I'm a harbor not

the sea..


*Sandoval
 Mar 2020 Travis Kroeker
Carolina
I saw the plane,
I stared at the white mark,
it cut through the sky
dividing the world.
Which side am I on?
Thoughts life decisions doubt
 Jan 2020 Travis Kroeker
lX0st
Of all the ways
I’ve watched the world
Fail to take flight

The worst is my own
It is the peeling that breaks me.
It is the skin once a thin bastion
against dirt, against mandible,
against the boring small things
that blister the flesh, brown the pulp.

And as I slide a blade into the onion,
wincing in the sting of sulphur,
these fumes of disdain, it yields,
again and again, to the rocking steel,
humming unto the butter and pan.

But it's the peeling that breaks me.
Thin papers loose as sunburn,
loose as ribbon unwound
from the core, loose as young men
bound for the shore, loose as a living,
a living no more.
Which river to cross -
The shallow brook of faith,
Tepid in the slow run to God, or
That which drains into the oily pits
Of loss, tormented though alive
In sure and certain combustion?

Give me fire and hard current,
Give me love and rounding stone,
Give me rasping scale and snag,
Jagged rapid bends,
And the black swamp moccasin
Bite into my fat ripe shin.
For that is where I’ll meet you.

And what is more sacred
Than knowing true pain,
The poison of it -
The broken limb, the broken heart,
The breaking rind and taking,
Taking that what is broken
And breaking,
Into a broken hand
And tying pain to pain
And thus healing
As long slow scabs
Conceal the wounds.

I will not confess my sins, no,
But burn them in the river to Hell.
I will struggle - with you -
the orange-tongued waters,
Grit-toothed and unburdened,
Dragged a half-mile down,
Until we reach the ashed
And muddied bank and fall
In the gray and muck of living -
Laughing that we tried at all.

— The End —