what do we name the space between two goodbyes?

did anyone even hear you open the door?

i love the click-quiet fact that you never left,
a halted breath, non-existently still
in the choice to neither stay nor go

(but to be alive is in the dance,
a sacred risk of movement

you want to remain to me this miraculous
transcendence of death
(i can tell you do
because i stopped waiting
for the sorrow to come/

and air split
skirts around you,
stuck in the back of my throat,
an overdressed
under expressed farewell)

i am alive. you are
swallowed by light, pale, sculpted
beautifully still
we stare,

in the liminal,
between a move forward and
a step back.


All Because I Thought You Looked Like Wisdom

You’re the latest love to turn me to a poem,
after time and trauma stoppered Understanding

too weak to lift rhythm
from the the waving hands of the word
“waist” (or was it waste), which
type of time tripped me up and caught me

like a baby, shrunken too small
by rebirth to comprehend prison
for the sake of precaution, as I watch words,
mobile, fall from the ceiling before I sleep?

they never land on me
i never taste them

for when I dream I chase
because I am a grown man
who is an elderly woman
who feels like a teenager

and you are a pickup
(or a dump) trucking along

and my heart is a filling moon-sliver of a
fingernail, drawing blood from bumper,
destined to never rip, even
as the force and direction of your speed
and the gravelly inertia of your “no”,
leaves me to flap in the wind,
skinned raw swaddled in tears

all because I thought you looked like wisdom.


3 until the end of days

this empty mug of sorrow
won’t let itself be poured
out, beneath the penetration of
sun rays thirsty for the evaporation
condensation precipitation
of tears and tea,
and the continuation of a life
at this state of Wait

unlike this mug,
my heart repeatedly breaks for you,
and sorrow swirls ooze out to
paint my aortic chambers with scenes
of nostrils filled to the brim
with white swirls of music notes
that elevate your body and coccoon
your brain from your mother father circled
around you, eyes shut to your slow

my heart pounds out images
in abrupt dull tones,
broken kaleidoscope visions
of tiny outstretched hands weighed
down with absence,
tickling keys to burst the silence
from the air…

knuckles slash air to strike face,
kisses shared in a bed with no commitment

you smile, laugh, dance,
your eyebrows risen up to the sky,
two baby suns ready to break dawn…

tears fall from my eyes

at noon,
i take a spoon and tap it
against the side of the mug.
it rings like your laughter.

i don’t (episode 3: a breakout series)

i don’t
have the will
to wake some days,
to rent another breath
that compounds this loan when I already
don’t make enough joy (i know my right eye twinkles
with three less rays
than that passerby)

now, I’ve had my 50th
call from God, all asks for payment
trailed by the threat of confiscation of property
(i’ve almost been confiscated sixteen times),

had to bear my entire weight on ragged knees,
brown skin scrapped back, wrist
thrust forward bathed in the stench
of three-year old trashed memories
from my scavenge for belly born

and i get the extension

but we both know
all my smiles are just
begs for more time
i may never afford


i don’t (episode 2: a breakout series)

i don’t
take risks anymore, i don’t
sink my hands
into the welcoming
grit of moistened ground,

i hope to be stopped by gold
at my feet,
afraid of dirty

though my face is read, and my veins
have blown, blew backwards
ugly to be backwards and lost,

where mom is the only sense still
made while she sleeps in a bed
made of bugs with the silent partner
of the unspoken abuse from my

in the AM, I wake to
the pelts of a painful hailstorm
of passionate prayer
and the gust
from open lips,
hungry as the eye

desperate for straight
as the right direction, but there is
no direction to the dead
but under, where nothing is a risk
and everything is

still, i wanted their approval,
less me,
less speak,
let’s be
let’s be solid,
let’s be statue,
let’s be fluid only when other hands move me,
dimensional only when warm bodies circle around,
full of life only when passersby are desperate
to be moved by a sorrow chiseled so still,
their breath caught trembling in the air…

pupils risen
above nothing
that beats or flows,
let’s be something less than dead,
who’s bodies were at least
dignified by the act of being
buried, i dreamed of it once

upon a time, i was
woken by the fatal
kiss of my own screams,
pressed by hatred
on all sides,
heart flowing,

– Stevie

The Unheard Pain You Know

you know you didn’t birth the yolk
of growth to a flower’s bloom, and
you can’t wind-shake the thought
of the plagiarization of scars from your skin

this wound is copyrighted, but the world
named me as velvet-tongued martyr

these wind-whispers that touch
but cannot be have no interest to
the bristle-tongued burrowers beneath
rain they summon again and again
to create reasons for alliteration chains
to be swung, then hooked into a groove
for easy climbs and sudden drops.

these rugged scabs are not your land-
scapes, please leave me dry

yet, lasers of enlightenment swept onto dark
holes -irises- to stimulate a mass ejaculation
of breath at the nonconceptual,
the after sound of a gasp, a privileged disbelief

i hope you get lost in the dust
particles’ evanescence

as you kneel
at my healing,
what you think as ancient wisdom

i pray this poem implodes.
i pray you get buried
where the words
never know
to find you.

-Stephanie Ambroise

An Ode to Poem-A-Day

i leave already read poems
in my inbox. eye them as
treasures, Jacks-in-the-box I know
will tickle the child
inside that cries. how they
stay there, dusty with neglect,
and how they glow
with the quality to hold on hand
a magick continuously unknown to me,
like the nuance contained
in the way she wrote the words
“apple tree” I may not have picked
up on yet, or how the next time I
get to the end, I may not think of
my friend, discontinued by anger,
how I wish he would talk to me,
and tell me something

-Stephanie Ambroise