Mugging Alex Lemon


This is chipped-teeth, the kicked-heart,
dried blood on grandfather's blanket.

          I stretch to not choke
          on the eleventh breath.

The body is a rotting orchard, eyes of cracked wings.

In the yard, the neighbor's dog, all red sores
           & ribs, face an instrument
           of torture, looks to my window,
           hollow mouth broken by light.

           Nothing is permanent.
           Nothing lives in this bed.

Steam floats from my shoulders like breath.

Naked, I wait to be tuned like a fallen god's
flute. Cadence of a rattling shower
           thumping my bruise. The music
           of not knowing fills me, the too sweet
           meat of an animal not yet dead.


Is there still time for me to stop
shivering under the purple weight
of a plum, palm trembling
beneath the supermarket's brilliance?

I wanted to pull it cleanly away,
peel flesh until I found a layer sweet
in pain. My tongue flicked tender corners,
caught rivers of blood in a pool
so deep it could fill lungs.

I still walk this poorly lit block
past midnight, vision filled
with bodies split into floods.
On these streets where black eyes expand
like nebulae, I refuse to understand
exploding shadows, how physics
carves gentle lines, a mural's scar.
But somewhere in this gesture
I have come to realize the stupidity
of most of this world's wants.
Recesses of the body caked
with blood, the fine-art of stains.

Alex Lemon lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he's worked as a butcher and an unloader of semis. His poems have appeared in Square Lake, Blue Collar Review, Pig Iron Malt and are forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, New Orleans Review, The Butcher Shop, Sonora Review, Jabberwock Review, CutBank and Octopus Magazine. Currently, he is the assistant editor for LUNA, A Journal of Poetry and Translation.

Typo Issue Two