Iíve hummed your goodbye song

so many times I canít feel

the right side of my face.

Now, Iíd rather be gagged

with guitar strings & dragged

behind a hotrod than sit

deadlog in a wheelchair.

How many times will you

push a needle into my thigh

before something more brilliant

than my death wish wakes?

O, whistling skin

of a pierced & patched body,

stumbling through life

I gasp like a kicked dog.

How many have dropped

wishes in my skull? Dipped,

then pressed wet-

tipped fingers to their lips?

When the body quakes

& pink bubbles crawl lips,

push the chest downó

squeeze & plunge the knife

so the tongue is frozen & bit.






You think Iím lucky, but tell that

to my pit-bull soul. Bruise-bit,

it dreams of sunlit concrete & steak.

Squeeze its tender neck,

hold hands like explosions. When it licks

your face, youíll see, under the tiger-star,

the Toyota flip & roll. Constellations

of face-cuts, then flames. There are

names for this burning: winesap, still-life

with three skulls. Can you imagine my hands

welcoming pain as I tried to help? ďThatís all

I can do,Ē the dentist said when he pulled

the slivers from my gums, holding

the mirror up to my emptied smile.





Alex Lemonís poems are published or forthcoming in Pleiades, Black Warrior Review, New Orleans Review, CutBank, Sonora Review, LUNA, The Jabberwock Review, Octopus, and typo magazine. He teaches creative writing at Macalester College in

St. Paul, Minnesota.




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