by Erika Rasmussen


My father said

you need to be dependable.


I said



What I meant was,

I’m trying.

I don’t know 

what to do with a brain 

always running 

out of storage. 

The memory on this model

of human is slightly unscrewed,

the warranty expired. 


What I meant was

an intergalactic apology to all

who’ve fallen to 

my broken confidence.


The laundry always stales

where I promised

it wouldn’t be. 

The keys hang, abandoned,

beckon darkness to our door—

every robber’s dream.

They swing all night, glistening.

Hushed voices in the morning

affirm she’s got to start listening. 


Words of dishonor spill, grains from a 

well-intentioned covenant mill.

I wonder if 

every promised prayer I 

didn’t say 

rests as heavily on

their backs as the lump 

that hunches my throat.


These lips could stand

to make an oath less each day.

A ghost less with each pledge undismayed. 


I wish my middle name 

could be


but I’ll take Grace instead.

Nine times out of ten,

I’ve still some redemption left.


This isn’t a game, but I fear

I’m knocking other’s pieces out 

with the clumsy

of my head.