A Hearty Bowl of Cincinnati Chili

“You’re from Ohio. Have you had

Cincinnati chili?”


“Cincinnati chili tastes 

like gunpowder and blood in an alley,

And the rapidity of the heart 

before it stills;

The crunch of white onions 

and the burn of bitter formaldehyde. 

It smells like sliced brown beef

And beans

And the flowers poised like offerings

Around a young person who became

The Body.

In truth I remember little of the chili

Only the people there eating it, too. 

There was a man hunched over his bowl

Spoon clutched tight in his hand

I imagined it was the hand that 

Ripped the life from him

And I hoped it might be

So that I might hope he

This man

Would choke. 

A life for a life. 

He was just a man

Tasting his chili 

And I was a girl

Eating salty tears and ashes.”


Instead of this I say

“I tasted it once.

I didn’t like it.”

In the Absence of Warmth

I will wait for you

At our place by the seam,

The craggy, bitter deep that binds our worlds.

In shadow you will slip between,

Unafraid of being caught by the light,

For you would be safe and again, with me.

I will sing our song

Softly, so not to wake the guards,

And you will hear it and finish the tune.

You must come.

The earth has revolved too slowly

And too long around the sun

Without you. Besides, the warmth of

Earth and sun

Went with you.

I will not leave you as you left me.

I will wait clutching your note

(Itself worn and frail and tattooed on my heart)

And singing our song until my throat bleeds.

I am not angry.

Perhaps a little, but do not

Let a little anger stay you.

I hope that the pain that forced you away

Does not keep you.

I did not see it before

But my eyes are open now.

Through the veil and beyond our place

I see you.

I hear your song.

I will share your burden.

Please come.