3 0 3


i found myself

with bits of skin beneath my fingernails

knees pressing into couch cushions

curled up fetal position



tears turning to acid

i've cried too much - i need to stop

writing a letter without mentioning love

but seeing my emotions watermarking the page

this is my nightmare


three pills in my hand

smooth rough smooth

bulbous elliptical flat


falling in love - falling into a fitful sleep

falling into the place I miss most

staring impossibility in his eyes

a feral cat sized as wolf lunges

slashing open my chest


there are bits of skin beneath my fingernails

i am lucid in my nightmare

pressing my knees into the chest of my friend

nudging me every so often to be sure i'm still alive

curled up fetal position heavy lidded vision


this is my nightmare

in the house of my family lost years ago

running down an extending hallway

master bedroom - master bathroom

door locked behind me

bits of skin beneath my fimgernails

disappointment heavy shoulders

sand dollar scabs bloom on my mirrored face


this is my nightmare

waking down asleep

falling up gasping on the floor

pain spreading  - chest caving

i crawl into my bed anxiety soaked

cocooned in comforter - pressing back into wall

pretending wall is alive - taking comfort in that


but there are still o - positive stains on my face

this is my nightmare

i am glass eyed anthropomorphic iceberg

red handed with bits of my own skin

beneath my fingernails

fresh lattices on my back

angry nerves babbling insanity 

to my unresponsive brain


a shadow crashes into me

plunges into my chest

i kick into consciousness

i find myself with bits

of my own skin beneath my fingernails

cold wall behind me

this is my nightmare

5 0 5

Children of the Reef (Revision; Thanks to Brad, Umar, and Chris)


I. Neptune's Theater

A wandering rock spins smooth

as its warm sea calcimines.

And turquoise Neptune in his cloudy blue bath bath

drips epochs of lace from his fingertips

Sculpts a submerged eden of crimson and emerald

where painted parrots chat up cardinals

butterfly and angel fry sway with wave pulse

and foliated coral fingers beckon from arched windows.

Neptune’s children are flat and bright, spined and notched

free yet entangled in lace mesh ecosystem

beneath an array of bioluminescent stars

as a gangly pretender watches and blows bubbles.

II. Sapien Siege

The hot acidic hand of death grasps

the mesh rends and tangles

the ecosystem shattered

reef’s loosed children scream beneath planet’s stars.

Butterflies impaled

cyanide-swooning damsels

mesh-tangled angels hauled heavenward

coral to potash, corpses to coal.

The pretender to the throne blinks

rubs blurry lenses,

kicks plastic fins

and moves on to the next show


Unseeing and unaware

of the luminous filament in his wake.

Self-appointed divinity,

deus ex machina.




Ann says: All of the animal and human characters in this poem (except Neptune and The Pretender) are named after coral reef fish. Coral reefs, one of the most diverse ecosystems, are expected to be largely extinct within one human generation.

Copyright 2013 by Ann Marcaida.

Images:1. Andrey Narchuk 2.  Neil Craver Photography

1 0 1

Blue Halos

Blue halos fall through my sky as if they were suns, raising their coronas to kiss the endless sea of clouds, spread like breaths and whispers over the horizon, with the knowledge of today, tomorrow, and of something special, beyond say or ken, which floats mysteriously up, lands on my brow, and sings its morning revelry - good morning - this day is something untouchable, intangible, filled with precious moments too fragile to touch or name - we spend it breathless.

1 0 1

The Geometry Of Elegance

(finger-bones, eggshells)

complete infinitely precise balanced structures within structures held together with clear tape and brown string wrapped around green eyes that cannot stop will not stop would not stop if they could

oh so definite shimmering film edging soap-bubbles skin like water flicked across sand

freckles spray-pattern a cutout jawline beneath eyebrows raised by thousands of miniscule cogs turning for hours in a four-quarter strawberry clock deep in wooden horizontal cages holding creased letters

tomorrow, you’ll be different

1 0 1

You are my Johnny

I, your June

I saw you first for the dark you wore
and the strings you played

You saw my smile and the voice

We are young, and sometimes we lay in

bed naked,

You place your guitar and I hum along
To your blues.


I love to watch your fingers dance
Over frets

As my ribs rise and fall in time

In time
In time
We sing,
In time...  

1 0 1


Do you remember
   that night in my empty room
Back when all I had
   was a mattress on the floor,
   a laptop,
   and my favorite childhood movie
That we watched as we lay down and spooned 
   and I thought I had you too

But I’m still unsure if you cared
   Still unsure if it mattered
   Still unsure why I wonder….

When you probably don’t remember

5 0 5

Family Heirloom

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3 0 3

Broken Wings

I split my ribs open, only to

spill a million

black dahlias onto the floor.

not being swept away by the wind.

not being hidden beneath the

grass carpet.

nothing sparkled in gold today

it is all covered by spilled

water, clouded and gray.

the weight of torn petals

is still there, on my

tired lungs.

but I am a bird. wings broken.

the sky is out of reach.

my soul is everything.

broken, mended. sore,

numb. opened up my core

letting the wind reach in

and re-arrange my words.

born with torn wings.

frayed, like forgotten ribbons

of silk.

still wondering if flying





3 0 3

Invisible Wars

I walked in the room and found myself

swallowed by the darkness

my hand began the search for the light switch

when I got the lights on

I spotted you there on the floor

your back was to me with your knees folded up to your chest.

you looked so beautiful.

Like a human paper crane

your nakedness now suddenly exposed by the light,

I could see your spine

jutting out like train tracks under your skin.

I walked around to the front of you

only to find you crying

and only to feel my heart rip in two.

I set down my things and took your face

into my cold hands

you didn’t even shiver

“Are they back?” I asked

all you could do was shake your head

over and over again

I pulled you into my arms

and held you

while you

continued to fight off the monsters

that I could not see


2 0 2

The ten year old who reads Jodi Picoult

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