i never had faith before you
i lost all of it
in your white mustang blocks
away from my grandparents house and
you told me you
fucked someone else
and i can taste the salt on your
skin, you asked me if you
could hold me one more time

and i let you

you cried into my hair and
i was sticky, i’m in the
cool bathwater now reading
plath and wondering
what it’s like to disappear, if i
could step off a train into –
but i know matter
cannot be created nor destroyed
and my matter
splattered on the front of
a metro bus won’t make you into

a faithful fiance,
me into a trophy wife,
or god any more real

it would just make me dead

“that’s not all right, man. that’s not all right.”

the air stank of stale tobacco and petrichor

and the rain kept falling, falling.

and he stood there, naked before us

and he wept his salt and blood

because she would have been twenty-six today

if she hadn’t drank so much

and took her Ambien.

she never woke up.


you could feel her in the air that night

she was with us

in the drinks we poured

in the breaths we took

and in the rain that


and fell

and fell.



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pure evil

Pierce County Sheriff's deputies and Graham, Wash., firefighters work around the smoldering remains of a house, where, according to a sheriff's spokesman, three bodies were found. The bodies are believed to be Josh Powell and his two sons. An explosive fire occurred moments after a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to the home for a supervised visit.

it was a great fire


flesh freckled with ash

too quick to scream,

they are


too young to die,

they are


by loving father’s hand.

and banging on clouded glass

and locked door,

she begs and pleads for their lives,

to hold them in her arms,

to take them far far away.

she blames herself,

unable to save them as

the glass shatters

the boom echoes

consuming fire

burning them alive

father and

sons and



(Photo above by John Froschauer / Associated Press)

I wrote this poem this morning after reading one of the headlines in the LA Times about the suicide-murder in Washington, where Josh Powell set his home on fire during a scheduled visitation with his two young sons.

Powell was under investigation for the disappearance of his wife Susan two years ago, and had just lost main custody of his two sons – Braden, five years old, and Charles, seven years old. The night his wife disappeared during a snowstorm in Utah, Powell loaded his two sons into his car for what he called a “midnight camping trip”, and his wife has not been seen since. Recently, the two boys started recollecting what had happened that night, revealing that their mother was in the trunk of the car, and that their father and mother went into the woods and she never came out.

On the morning of the fire incident, a Child Protective Services worker brought the two boys to Powell’s home in Graham, Washington, but once she began to follow the children into his home, Powell shut and locked the door. Smelling gas and fearing for their safety, the worker notified her supervisor and then called 911 right as the fire began. She pounded on the doors and windows to no avail; the fire burned quickly, killing Powell and his two sons. Utah police believe the fire was intentionally started by Powell and is as good as a confession to his wife’s disappearance; they have vowed that this incident will not end the search for Susan Powell.

I think what affected me the most was reading that the Child Protective Services worker was “being treated for ‘grave emotional trauma’”. I cannot even imagine the sense of helplessness she must have felt as she watched the house burst into flames, knowing that no matter how hard she tried, she could not save those little boys she had seen just moments earlier. I could feel her pain resonate inside me. I empathized with her and knew I had to write this poem. My heart goes out to the family and friends of the two young boys and their missing mother.

Mark and Pam Figliola place flowers and a card at a candlelight memorial for the two sons of Josh Powell and Susan Cox at Carson Elementary School in Puyallup, Wash., where the older of the boys attended school. Police said that the two boys and their father, Josh Powell, were killed when Powell apparently blew up a house with all three of them inside Sunday afternoon. Powell's wife, Susan, went missing from their West Valley City, Utah, home in December 2009.

A candlelight vigil for Braden and Charles at the elementary school they attended. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

Read the full stories here:

Explosive fire kills husband, two sons of missing Utah woman

Utah police vow to continue probe into Susan Powell’s disappearance