Five Poems

​I’m Always Talking

About my hands or mention
In relation to you or missing

Familiar image, Titanic even
Photo of a poem sent, a sext

Meet me in Montauk kind-
Ness escaped the last time

We spoke I was liquid and/or
Popcorn almost on your lap

Grabbed at a thing I felt
Still grabbing the hands parting

Rocks under my feet, shoes off
Trapping tadpoles inside my palms

Catching whatever disease you
Yellow haired and unkind under

Me a body removed from
Old spring in the theatre seat

Remind me your thoughts on
Comfort and how art is not

Ask a goldenrod to stop
Pretend the blue rise doesn’t

Heat our faces the same but
Here we were, next to

Each pressing matter again
Enter a room hollowed of sound 

Me I can be more than
You another equation in 

Catastrophe the city means well
So many people wander look

There was a time the colors didn’t
But that’s another story and who

I am among them is now
Fish struggles in my hands clasp

Nothing to fight anymore 
Where to hide under at this age

Oblivious to seasonality 
Necessity vs youth something

An epilogue ties up neat
Yellow ribbon wrapped loose

My ponytail bobbing in fits
Package I can’t open until

The same scene again
My face made-up but 

There’s no one to check
My temperature to tell

If I’m cheating or heating
On a hot young bulb

Sometimes I wish you would stalk me

I’m always sitting on my danger 

zone I’m leaking this 

wide load I’m bearing or 

baring too much meat 

on the bread 

white paper napkin

pocket my lunch

there are splinters

waiting on the wood 

there are red beans

to add to this soup but 

dare I say darling

dare I say missing

all this distance the speed 

living accrues 

pick up the new key

unlock the door

what else is worth speaking

dare I say had you

dare I say almost

pretend not to notice 

strangers you were too

say you hate comfort

say you hate money

so I twist a rubber band

to remind myself

I razor my legs

to find comfort in routine

dare I say sturdy

dare I say save me

but I know you

never hold a hand only 

watch til it’s over

so I’ll say try me

comb out my hair

and I’ll be this tall 

building grey skyline

my reach toward thirsty

never holding

only grabbing

so I’ll say lamppost

hope you say sturdy

and in the morning

I might build 

you the empire

of my waist

Midwestern Tendency

Return to panic climate 
reclamation, a corset education 

in plain nonsense A rhetoric or dis-
covery, wood under carpet

It looks so fucking good There 
the question as simple as do

you grow hair on the backs
of your hands and what is

the back to you I’m jealous
of people who are so alone

it hurts them I want to
ask how does one fracture

the pelvic bone can I try
if only to take some time

off from under a body
or how to become a new-

er orchid One single cut 
the backs of men and me

another body places 
itself out on a limb

to turn over the toast
a darker side exposed then

covered in spread the action
of misplacing a pair of earrings

or another thing entirely that
time I tried to jump the turnstile 

a man in plain clothes says we’re 
all adults here so calm down 

The Witch

In the town where I grew up

The one on my block with

The branches growing up &

The leaves blocking her porch

From view so that named her

The witch with her dark hair

And no ring or man but two dogs

Big ones to keep the children out

So we walked slowly past 

& Could not see inside but some boxes

Near the front door just beyond the screen

& Maybe she heard us outside thinking we

Were very very quiet but that is impossible

For children but she may have been quiet

Damning her more so & am I making 

This part up when we snuck upstairs

To the bedroom with the one twin bed

Whose was it it was so dark yes maybe

A boy was dog sitting & let us in with a key

But also I was a child & had a lively imagination

I secretly nursed this quiet desire for her to call me

Into her house alone & curse me like only a witch can

Sad song w/ domestic undertone

I live in deep secret 

the home of a lover

inside a stale carton

of smokes we sleep

to die a romantic death

an idea that passes 

with each year dream

a mortgage and two

maybe three kids an empire

of name to swallow 

after or spit decisions

the right to buy a pill

push out the world

a larger price the real dilemma

one scoop or two 

pull of belonging to comfort

what I enjoy

a good ripe fruit

not the kind that irritates

my throat itches & swells

opening of a flame it fits

in my palms for others

empty the contents to the floor

someone always walking by asking  

for something I need too 

the right to have arms

to hold my body upright

smell the sand in me again

as it glistens and groans

with each movement I allow

this to be done to make 

a real center hollowed 

the unseen my greatest 

achievement the years 

I live out under sleep

ALEXIS POPE is the author of Soft Threat (Coconut Books, 2014), and three chapbooks. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Volta, Denver Quarterly, No Dear, Octopus, and Forklift Ohio, among others. She is an assistant editor for ILK Journal, involved with the Belladonna* Series, and lives in Brooklyn.
The Adirondack Review