by Alex Lemon
Someone is hanging from an ice-pick
Wrestled into my lung
But I haven’t had Blue Cross
In so long it might only be my memory
Of a blue jay chasing the others away—
House finch, sparrow and pigeon—
How it sat at the feeder,
Beak-high, without eating for hours.
The entire afternoon I watched, reliving
The smoke-dark morning I shot my best friend,
And how four years later, seniors
In high school, we sat drunk on Pabst,
Squeezing the remaining buckshot from his calf
As a girl we both thought was ours
Watched, a cigarette burning a knuckle
On her hand. The moon was something
I will never remember and plutonium
Was what I thought of the fireflies.
And now, when I leave my porch
The ground will give beneath my feet
On this day wet and comfortable
With warm rain. Most of the apples are mealy
With bruises, but I will sliver them
With my grandfather’s pocketknife, eat
Them with peanut butter while sipping green tea.
It would be much easier if I could
Say I have so much of everything I don’t
Remember loving anything at all, but really,
What wouldn’t I do for twenty-bucks?
Alex Lemon’s first collection of poems, Mosquito, will be published by Tin House Books in late 2006. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Tin House, New England Review, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, Pleiades, Post Road, and Swink, among a number of other journals. A frequent reviewer for The Bloomsbury Review, he is also the assistant editor for LUNA: A Journal of Poetry and Translation. In 2005 he was awarded a Literature Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts. Currently he lives in Minneapolis, and teaches at Macalester College. (5/2006)