:: Article

Two Poems

By Zoe Alexandra.


Your daddy was never
a daddy. He tried to slice your wrist
once with a shard of glass in your sleep.

Blondie with crooked teeth
knashing your jaw, Science fiction face
that I loved
but no one else did.

And you believe you should try
To stick this one out
Until your mom moved you away

To the Wilmington, North Carolina
where a doctor took your nose

between his forefinger and thumb
marked it in blue pen
and struck you with a hammer
amashed the bone into 14 pieces
and re-aligned it
pushed your chin back in place.
Sliced it with a shiny scalpel
and left you sallow yellow
and puke green on some
blue sheets in a hospital
in a one horse town
where no one knew your name
And I loved you

Somewhere thousands of miles away
I stared down at my half-smoked cigarette
waiting for a point
waiting for the fire to smolder the end
into a crooked peak
to know that you missed me too

you were there for me when I wasn’t there at all
even for myself
you were my backbone
when they snapped mine into 47 pieces
and pushed them neatly into place with
titanium and little slices of my hip
when I oozed blood from my back
dripped like a broken water tap
you were there
when I lied awake
Pushing a small red button down
with clenched teeth
The morphine drip
sending me to the third precinct of hell
(Which is not such a scary place after all)

You were there when all the voices turned to static
and my mouth turned to cinder
so I could no longer kiss you on my mouth

You were my best-friend
When I didn’t even know what that meant
lying in the tepid bath with me
legs bent, back arched
Your ribs springing from your stomach
like a deer, like a creature from another world
you were so mean sometimes
mean to everyone but me
because you could see all the gashes and
the disgrace behind my eyes
all the screaming and the whites of my
gaze turning red before it even happened

and I always knew that
one day you’d be gone
I didn’t know ten years later
you’d be on the other line
of the telephone wire
wrapped around my
polished nail so tight
it turned purple.

I need you like I need
a hole in my head
and seriously I mean
that as a compliment.
No I mean I need you
to steady me on this shaking earth
all this plate tectonics has me falling
into small cracks in the pavement
has me dreaming of your hands
on my head
your laugh like a catastrophe
It sounds like I could save you
You need me but maybe I need you more
You never let me lie in my own shit
Lie to myself
Lie to you
Lie on top of you
When I was too trashed to know any better
You never let me go
Even when the rope stretched so
Far and I was hanging on by a tiny stitch
You are older now

Long pale hair to your ass
Like your mom
When she was dancing
At the playboy café
1977 when you were barely a flicker in her eye
Before the tables turned

When she was drinking a bottle of cooking cherry
tearing out her hair
because she loved you
like no one else did
not even me
because I could never birth you from
a tiny place

I could never spill
diamonds from my sleeves
onto the table before you
show you the answers

But you are your Mother
twenty-three with a southern drawl
A pocket knife
And a tea kettle
You are miraculous
I am finally waking up.


Allowances – a sort of pantoum

You would know it
If this was for you
But it’s not
Because I wouldn’t be allowed to give you anything

You would know it
If my eyes caught yours like a pin snags the lace of a dancer’s skirt
If this was for you
Which it could never be
But it’s not
Since fiscally it would be a mistake
Because I wouldn’t be allowed to give you anything
(Not in this economy)

If my eyes caught yours like a pin snags the lace of a dancer’s skirt
If you pulled away too soon
If this was for you
You’d know what to do with it
Which it could never be
Even if our hands brush on an elevator
But it’s not
Because I keep my feelings to myself
Since fiscally it would be a mistake
You could feel in the pit of your stomach
Not in this economy
But maybe two years from now
If this were for you
You would know it
But it’s not.


Zoe Alexandra‘s fiction has appeared in Best Lesbian Erotica 2007 (Cleis Press) and was translated into Italian for Best Erotica 2007 (Arnoldo Mondadori Editore-Milan, Italy). Her chapbook, Cock Shy is available through Scintillating Publications. Her poems and stories have appeared in various online and print magazines including Verbicide Magazine, Word Riot, the Common-line Project, Thieves Jargon and the Cerebral Catalyst among others. She is a part-time student and a full-time retail slave-girl. She lives in New Haven, CT and blogs here.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Wednesday, September 1st, 2010.