Thunder fades into the sound of fireworks, muted into one another, the lights of the Freedom Tower are visible now against the sky, a muted rainbow sky, dark clouds low, a charcoal smear tests stop the Empire State. The sticky sweet of rain still rests against your skin, soggy. Car alarms and sirens a background orchestra, but there are trees here, too, shadows of leaves that dance across your window, casting reflections the mix with the bars of the fire escape, city, city, nature, city. Strange collisions and mixings. It’s nice to be able to see trees. Trees grow in Brooklyn and in Manhattan, too. So does connection, so does grief and loss and anxiety and belonging.

Two random thoughts: The subway isn’t a solace and is mostly a pain in the ass, but I don’t miss driving like I thought I would. They don’t make thunderstorms in the west like they do here. Thunder? Fireworks? Gunshots? The real American questions as Fourth of July draws near. This is a city of anxieties and revelations and sometimes strange joys and of seeing your neighbor who probably came from a different county than you and wondering what right you have to walk down the street so easily compared to them, and wondering at the same time why you can’t walk alone at night but others have that luxury. The air smells clean, like rain on pavement and the smell of marijuana only lingers a bit from the window beneath the roof, a tinge of cool a relief from the heat that is beginning to settle like hot breath over the entire city.


It’s strange you once felt like warmth


The air pricks at my skin like an unwelcome lather of discomfort.
The grass is starting to unfurl its winter coat of dulled amber
for an early spring ensemble of faded green. Dogs bark,
children ride their bikes on the sidewalk despite the cold.
The promise of spring is too enticing. Who am I to resist its call?

The Wasatch Front reaches towards the sky, the snow at the
summits is withering away. I reach towards acceptance
long sought after like the goldenrod emerging through frost.

I remember this time two years ago when we sat together
in the armchair by the front door, whispered promises
of renewal and brushed our fingers together. An intense intimacy
masked by assurances and laughter exchanged
between our mouths like a radio frequency that
is not quite right. A little too fuzzy and cracked.
You know you should change the station but instead
you remain in the comfort of the familiar. Pomegranate soap
and a raw smell of leaving exuded from your thin hands.

When we hugged goodbye, the vibrations between us
signified an ending, a last time. I soothed myself
with signals and signs(delusions) that we would see another spring.

Salt Mine


My veins fill with salt at your words. You are a surface distraction,

a copy, a mimicry of what I once had. Drinking from you seems refreshing

at first. I take my fill, gulp you down, and inhale your words and wisdom

until my lungs are filled. I do not realize until it’s too late that your love,

our connection, is saltwater, as dense as the Great Salt Lake.


Inflammation and pain on the inside cuts of my anatomy flaring up,

every old wound on my liver, my ribcage, my closet romantic’s heart.

 I’m drowning. This is not the comfort I sought, not the replacement

I was looking for. But, then, stark relief, you brought to me.


The realization that maybe saltwater love could be better.

I could learn to drink from my own fresh well.

Your dead sea water could keep me afloat as I grew my own limbs.

I am my own salt of the earth, but not alone.



I burrowed, filled with inertia, into your
aorta and was surprised to find a red,
deeper than any shade known, a primordial
color, like the life some god injected into
the core of the earth, consistency like mud.
When I emerged from inside your heart,
the stain turned brown. Not a deep, earthy brown,
but rotting, rancid shades to remind
me how I damaged your ventricles.


-Original poem, property of Amanda Steele, 2017



Among grimy, concrete walls and discarded wrappers

you can find a new home. Feel the city air, despair,

creation, smells of falafel and exhaust, on your collarbones.

The blood in your wrists is the same here as anywhere

but you notice the pulsing, the life, from the 75th floor.

Looking out over the expanse of building anatomy,

how each skyscraper is a nucleus. You’re more in touch here,

lifted closer to the gods, than among 

snow-tipped mountains and fresh evergreens.


I remember your small kitchen in St. George.

You sipping coffee out of a copper mug,

me swirling the soggy Golden Puffs around the bowl.

I was mapping the exoskeleton of your layered armor

and the distance it created between us like an

oceanographer studies strange creatures

near subterranean vents. We seek

each other’s familiar warmth

like these uncomplicated organisms

sitting near the volcano before it explodes.
This corkscrew tension between us keeps me in place.

Found Poem(sort of) from Trump’s Immigration Executive Order

Executive Order 


On Protecting the Nation from Donald Trump

It is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Purpose. The process did not stop attacks by nationals.

Numerous individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism, including nationals. Deteriorating conditions in certain Americans have hostile attitudes toward its founding principles.

The United States cannot admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.

Sec. 2. Policy. It is the policy of the United States to protect its citizens from nationals who intend to commit attacks in the United States; and to prevent nationals who intend to exploit United States immigration laws for malevolent purposes.

Sec. 3. Suspension (a) The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, shall immediately conduct a review to determine that the individual is who the individual claims to be and is not a security or public-safety threat.

(b) The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, shall submit a report on the results of the review.

(c) To temporarily reduce national criminals, I hereby suspend the United States.

(f) At any point after submitting the list the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security may submit: the President recommended for similar treatment.

Sec. 4. Implementing. (a) The Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation shall implement a program, to identify individuals:  fraudulent, with the intent to cause harm, or who are at risk of causing harm to the national interest.

(b) The Secretary of Homeland Security, in conjunction with the Secretary of State, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, shall submit the President with this order: the Secretary of State, shall review application to determine what procedures should be taken to ensure President do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States.