Alex Lemon’s most recent poems are forthcoming in Cimarron Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Indiana Review, The Journal, Pleiades, Post Road, Swink, Salt Hill, and Washington Square. Among his awards are grants from the Jerome Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Currently, he teaches at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.
It would take jack-hammers
to find that other-self. Saw-shrieks,
elegies for taste—whiplash,
moan & scald. This body
is something Giacometti
sculpted: wax & molten steel,
the die-cast of night’s necessities.
Smaller, I beg you, smaller.
For fear my outline is neither
live nor dead, air dances electric
with broken ghosts. Cheeks
absent of color: lip after the bite.
* * *
Sticky in autumn’s poplar, the voyeur,
who may or may not be me, sketches
the leaf’s cursive fall. Grasshoppers sleep
in amber. This could be feeling: not good,
but at least not hurt. I need spells & voodoo
to stop time. Close my eyes—bring me
willing things, orphans waiting open-armed
for needles, gravel-floored cellars & spiders
the size of fists. Underwater, you cannot hear
my favorite song: a mouth whispering
half my name, all the sheets turned down.