Alex Lemon Poems





I’ve hummed your goodbye song

so many times I can’t feel


the right side of my face.

Now, I’d 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 down—


squeeze & plunge the knife

so the tongue is frozen & bit.







You think I’m 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, you’ll 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? “That’s all

I can do,” the dentist said when he pulled


the slivers from my gums, holding

the mirror up to my emptied smile.





Alex Lemon’s 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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