“Olive” – H.M. Scheppers

It seems to me like the forest will look more like this:


an olive, on a toothpick

one side x, one side o

— O

how my brain feels

hollow, punctured.

With just a word,

he punctures me

an olive on a toothpick

flesh purses into an “O”

and I’m pitted

on my back—“X”

begs—hit me here,

my strong side,

but I lie mangled

among other pitted O’s 

like a bug on its back and rolling

into others, without limbs

to move freely, without,

only to roll, 

empty, blind

mouth open



“I Lick the Froth” – H. M. Scheppers

My tongue like bark,

I lick the froth from

my steamed soy milk

like the taste of Mom’s pinecone crafts.

Unlike the sap of my early days

of 2% that Mom had filled for my

jelly jar glass each dinner 

in the dining room with crystals.

Like cardboard, soy steam pours

over my tongue’s tip—

scrapes the buds, like the way 

Dad scraped buds in the backyard, 

the lawnmower chasing us 

in diagonals and cupcakes.

My mouth a dry scone,

I sip more, sipping mean,

until my tongue chars like

the night I reached for the switch

and realized Dad no longer

tucked me in.

The grand bland lather of Silk

rushes over my tongue of shingles 

until the foam slopes at the bottom

like shampoo slopping below my ear.

My tongue of pinecones, bitter and

arching for froth,

for the kitchen sink after midnight,

for a venom of milk,

for the sap of my early days.