Poem For Kate In Chemo by Alexis Rhone Fancher

various-stages-of-not-responding

Above where your right breast used to be
the oncologist implanted a port to make things easier.
“It takes forever,” you say. “An hour’s drive, each
way, an entire day used up, laying
there.”

But first, the tourniquet, tied to your upper arm,
the cheery nurse, tapping for a working vein,
your thick blood at last flooding into one syringe
after another. Then the weigh-in, each time
less. “Bone and skin now,” you say.

If your numbers are good, you head
to the chemo room, rows of cushy
recliners, supplicants tethered to plastic bags
held high by IV poles, a forest of metal trees.

You unbutton your blouse, offer up the convenient
port to a flush of saline – like ocean, you tell me,
like waves.

Next, the chemicals, those shimmering droplets
riding the plastic tube into your chest,

a kind red blanket, thrown
over your legs.

I tear the best New Yorker short stories
from the magazine and mail them
to you in Port Townsend.
Something to pass the time. Something non-
medical to discuss when we chat each week.

We both know you’re dying, though your
husband still has faith, and you cling to his
hope, coming back week after week because
it makes his life bearable.

When the chemo bags are empty,
and the stories read, you leave the pages behind
for a needful stranger.
In 2000, when you lost your breast,
your husband insisted you have
chemo then, too.
“It makes me feel more dead than alive,”
you confessed to me after the first week.

Appointment days, you’d leave the house,
drive to the woods, walk the trails
instead of treatment, those
huge redwood trees shading your path.

Each evening you’d return to your
husband’s innocent embrace.

You made me promise not to tell.
And I never did, until now.

 

For Kate O’Donnell, (1949-2014)

 

First published in the Nashville Review.

 

 

Alexis Rhone Fancher is published in Best American Poetry 2016, Plume, Rattle, Diode, Rust & Moth, Nashville Review, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. She is the author of How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and other heart stab poems,(2014), State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (2015), and Enter Here (2017). A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly.
http://www.alexisrhonefancher.com

 

Art by Brooke Warren.

She Says Stalker/He Says Fan by Alexis Rhone Fancher

Juan_Gris_-_Still_Life_with_Guitar

“If you can’t be free, be a mystery.” – Rita Dove, ‘Canary.’

She’s a singed torch song, a broken chord, the slip-shadow between superstar and the door. She’s that long stretch of longing riding shotgun from nowhere to L.A., a bottle of Jack Daniels snug between her thighs, always some fresh loser at the wheel. She’s the Zippo in your darkness, a glimmer of goddess in your god-forsaken life, her voice a rasp, a whisky-tinged caress. She gets you, and you know the words to all her songs, follow her from dive bar to third-rate club clapping too loudly, making sure she makes it home. She’s as luckless in love as you are, star-crossed, the pair of you, (in your dreams). If only we could choose who we love! Tonight the bartender pours your obsession one on the house, dims the lights in the half-empty room as she walks on stage, defenseless, but for that 0018 rosewood Martin she cradles in her lap like a child. If you ask nicely, she’ll end with the song you request night after night, about the perils of unrequited love. You’ll blurt out your worship into her deaf ear, while her fingers strum your forearm and her nails break your skin. Give the lady whatever she wants, you’ll tell the barkeep. Like that’s even possible.

 

First published in The San Pedro River Review.

 

 

Alexis Rhone Fancher is published in Best American Poetry 2016, Plume, Rattle, Diode, Rust & Moth, Nashville Review, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. She is the author of How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and other heart stab poems,(2014), State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (2015), and Enter Here (2017). A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly.
http://www.alexisrhonefancher.com

 

Painting, Still Life with Guitar, by Juan Gris.

“Things we lose are usually underneath something else.” By Alexis Rhone Fancher

dis_integration2_Jenn Zed things we lose are underneath something else Alexis Rhone Fancher

“Things we lose are usually underneath something else.” -Benette R .

1.
I dream there is hair in my food.

In the morning, my lover says, “Yes, there’s
a long hair in every dish you feed me.”

A strand of myself in every serving –
and he eats it like a condiment.

2.
“Looks like the same m.o.,”
the detective says, examining our broken
pane, bent screen. “He likes you
long-haired girls.”

3.
I find myself alone in the kitchen, eating
rice I don’t remember cooking.

4.
When was the last time we had any fun?”
my lover sighs.

5.
I mean, who are we when we
enter the Jacuzzi, and who are we
when we emerge?

6.
I dream there is food in my hair.
And gum. And a switchblade.

7.
“For the vast majority of people,”
my mother said, just before she died,
“The thing that’s going to kill you
is already on the inside.”

 

First published in decomP.

 

 

Alexis Rhone Fancher is published in Best American Poetry 2016, Plume, Rattle, Diode, Rust & Moth, Nashville Review, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. She is the author of How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and other heart stab poems,(2014), State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (2015), and Enter Here (2017). A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly.
http://www.alexisrhonefancher.com

 

Art, Dis-Integration, by Jenn Zed. Used by permission. 

Mother’s Day Poems, Clutch Two

Regarding The Unreliability Of Buses in The Desert In Late July by Alexis Rhone Fancher

The Girl
She wouldn’t last the afternoon.

Chalk white. Redheaded determination against
the soul-crushing Mohave.

What kind of life was it anyway,
when the closest thing to civilization was a mall
twenty miles away?

The pretty ones, her mama said,
rarely had far to walk.

The Mother
Nothing ages a woman like a dead kid.
Except, maybe, the desert.
Skin turned to parchment.
Age spots on her hands. A penance.

She stuffed them in her pockets.

The Man
The girl climbed into his dusty pick up.
Those tiny shorts, metal zipper flashing back
the sun, playing off the skin of her inner thigh.

It was like a dream, he told the police.

The Mall
glistened. Macy’s. Target. The Body Shop. Mrs. Field’s. The Sharper Image.
Victoria’s Secret. Wetzel’s Pretzels.

Every Kiss Begins With Kay.

The Mother
She sat at the table in the small trailer and
watched the sun flatline behind the highway.
Then she raised her glass of hard lemonade.

Here’s to the dead kid. She saluted
the faded snapshot, tacked up above the sink.

The blue-eyed girl in the photo
looked right through her.

Outside, the highway trembled as the bus
whizzed by, asphalt searing the tires,
their high whine a love song, a murmur.

My girl. The one with big ambition.
We all figured she’d be the one to get away.

 

for Chelsea Kashergen

First published in Loch Raven Review.

 

That Mother by Roberta Beary

My daughter is watching Frozen with friend.
I am cleaning out the linen closet.
Here is my stash of perfume samples from Bloomingdales.
I put them in a little basket.

I want to be another kind of mother.
Who comes home and climbs into bed.
Wearing nothing but sample perfume from Bloomingdales.
I want to be that mother in the Long Bar at Raffles.
Sipping the perfect Singapore Sling.

Frozen is almost over.
I take my Singapore Sling and sit near my daughter and her friend.
They open all the packets of perfume.
My daughter gets to keep the little basket.

 

Lost in the Lines of Laundry by Jeff Burt

Three laundry lines in the backyard,
poles tilted toward each other
like an old couple, towels like windows,

sheets like doors, fresh opportunities
to happy worlds of hide-and-seek
where one boy is never found,

lost in the lines, sheets ruffled,
clothes pins scattered, basket hollow,
mother screaming, sisters crying.

Decades later the same discomfort
she said, a continent away.
Today at the dryer she shook
a sheet hoping I would fall out.

 

Diary Excerpt from a Year When I Hated Mother’s Day by Wilda Morris

It is hard hearing yourself called
a saint for adopting five children
when you know you are in
over your head, when the shawl
across your shoulders is guilt,
when the temper you never knew you had
is the warp, you sharp tongue
the woof of a tapestry of failure,
of flaws, of fault. Your hyper child
pulls his siblings into the vortex
and the whirlpool spins you
out of control. You take a bad
book’s parenting advice,
exit the back door and let loose
with a primal scream.
All it accomplishes is a sore throat,
a neighbor’s strange look.

 

Detangling by Maya Wahrman

I’m washing my hands,
the water scalds
then is comfortably hot.
Soap, lather, it hits
me, the smell of sarkál,
the Israeli conditioner my mom
once rubbed into our scalps, certain
soaps in this life smell
like this, that time
I had lice, the long salty
day at the beach. Last night
I was held asleep by
broad shoulders, the kind
into which you melt
protected. My unruly
hair tickling his chest.
But this strong smell,
chemical secrets and
security, a softness
that can only belong
in the past. My ima
sitting with me by
the tub, carefully combing,
my small frame
in her smooth thighs,
her free thumb circling
against my shoulder
to keep me calm.

 

Mirror by Catherine Zickgraf

She finds her firstborn son.
He appears in her Myspace search
the day he completes his childhood.

They share a cigarette on her front step
(and quit together soon thereafter).
They discuss his NA meetings, what it’s like
to be an eighteen-year-old high school junior.
She explains her hospitalization last summer—
how it surprised her to regress at thirty two.

He leans in to wrap arms around her shoulders,
sun icing over behind tree fringe,
smoke sky sliding into horizon. They wear knit hats
and both always sensed it, this bond beyond first sight.

 

Fissure by Timothy Pond

You have effected a masterful
disturbance upon the
landscape of my face.
It’s your m.o., it keeps
you dealer, driver, maestro,
Holder of the stick at the end of
the carrot,
the one and only well of
maternal approval.

Dry, dry–I drop my divining rod
in favor of an oil drill.
But in the dust bowl roulette,
neighboring farms can gush
and gush
and my one and only well
can stay dry.
And I can drill until
I crack a fissure monument
in the landscape
as the family business
perpetuates.

First published in The Bees Are Dead.

 

My Mother by Lynn Green

You were a crisp white shirt and a dry martini,
a bounding Labrador and Jackie O,
were center court at Wimbledon, essence of life itself.

 

Ripening by Megan Denese Mealor

mother was our madness
and our curves

even her silhouettes were silver

mother could grow marigolds
in november

she was our snake charmer

our static cling

 

Previously published in BROAD!

 

Nighthawks by Roberta Beary

tonight her breathing’s more shallow. i try to find her favorite songs. search quickly on my iPad. mack the knife by Bobby; replays of Vera’s, we’ll meet again. but mostly i just talk and she listens. eyes glued shut in coma-land. well past morning i kiss her rice-paper face. stroke her white hair. a voice is crying, calling mama, mama. a word back from dead. executed in the land of assimilation. just after noon mama curls in fetal position. i keep watch: rise and fall of out-of-breath beats. too soon it comes. ebb tide.

autumn coolness
enters a hand
long held in mine

First published in Tinywords.
hospice hands by Mercurywoodrose

Alexis Rhone Fancher is published in Best American Poetry 2016, Verse Daily, Plume, Rattle, The American Journal of Poetry, Diode, Tinderbox, Nashville Review, and elsewhere. She’s the author of 4 poetry collections, including State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (2015), Enter Here, (2017), and Junkie Wife, (2018). Her photos are published worldwide, including River Styx, and the covers of Witness, Heyday, The Chiron Review, and Nerve Cowboy. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly. She lives in Los Angeles. http://www.alexisrhonefancher.com

Roberta Beary identifies as gender-expansive, and writes to connect with the disenfranchised, to let them know they are not alone. She is the author of three books of poems: Deflection (Accents, 2015) nothing left to say (King’s Road Press, 2009) and The Unworn Necklace (Snapshot Press, 2007, 5th ed. 2017) which was a finalist in the Poetry Society of America annual book awards). Beary is the editor/co-editor of the haiku anthologies Wishbone Moon (Jacar Press, 2018) fresh paint (Red Moon Press, 2014), 7 (Jacar Press, 2013), dandelion clocks (Haiku Society of America, 2008) and fish in love (Haiku Society of America, 2006). Her work appears in Rattle, KYSO Flash, Beltway Quarterly Review and Haiku In English The First Hundred Years (Norton, 2013). Beary’s work has been nominated for Best of the Net and multiple Pushcart Prizes. She lives in County Mayo, Ireland.

Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California, with his wife and a July abundance of plums. He has work in The Monarch Review, Spry, LitBreak, Wisconsin Review, and won the 2017 Cold Mountain Poetry Prize.

Wilda Morris is President of Poets and Patrons of Chicago and Past President of the Illinois State Poetry Society. Her poems have found homes in numerous anthologies, webzines, and print publications, including Christian Science Monitor, The Alembic, Chaffin Journal and The Kerf. She has won awards for both formal and free verse, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her book, Szechwan Shrimp and Fortune Cookies: Poems from a Chinese Restaurant, was published by Rockford Writers’ Guild Press in 2008. Her poetry blog is found at wildamorris.blogspot.com.

Maya Wahrman graduated from Princeton University’s Department of History with certificates in Creative Writing and Near Eastern Studies. She currently work at Princeton’s Office of Religious Life on issues of religion and forced migration. She has opinion pieces published in the History News Network and the English and Hebrew editions of Haaretz, and have had poetry published in Lilith Magazine, Love, Struggle, Resist, Fifth Wednesday Journal, The Copperfield Review, the Jewish Currents Poetry Anthology Urge, Sweet Tree Review, Heartwood Literary Magazine, and Nassau Literary Review.

Catherine Zickgraf has performed her poetry in Madrid, San Juan and three dozen other cities. She’s differently-abled now—walking with a cane and flying in her sleep—so her main jobs are to hang out with her family and write more poetry. Watch/read her at caththegreat.blogspot.com and run/jump while you are able.

Timothy Pond loves the Staten Island Ferry because it’s orange and a free way to escape Manhattan. She is named after the grass.

Lynn Green is British American and co-founded a Real Estate Brokerage in Austin, Texas. In 2012 she returned to college to complete a degree in creative writing and is now writing full time. Her first short story, Cheese Whiz, won a thematic competition in The Knot magazine. She has written two children’s stories, a novel, and is currently working on a series of short stories.

Megan Denese Mealor is a double Pushcart Prize nominee. Her work has been featured widely in numerous journals, most recently The Opiate, Maudlin House, The Metaworker, The Ministry of Poetic Affairs, Van Gogh’s Ear, Firefly, Poehemian, Fowl Feathered Review, Weekly Poetry, Visitant Lit, The Furious Gazelle, Rumble Fish, RAW, and Harbinger Asylum. Her debut poetry collection, Bipolar Lexicon: An Akathisia of Expressed Emotion, is forthcoming in October 2018 from Unsolicited Press. She also serves as a new volunteer reader for E&GJ Press. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder in her teens, Megan’s underlying mission is to inspire others stigmatized for their mental health. Her loves include alligators, air hockey, astrology, baking, swimming, snorkeling, crocheting, calligraphy, painting, beachcombing, ghost hunting, origami, and paintball. She lives in her native land of Jacksonville, Florida with her partner of six years, their four-year-old son, and two mollycoddled cats.

Mother’s Day Poems, Clutch One

Bougainvillea by Tamara Madison

She is brown like her shadow on hot ground
at high noon. Her hair, a dark bush, bounces
on top of her busy torso as she steps out — snap snap —
in rubber thongs in the pummeling sun
of a desert afternoon. Her arms are sinewy-thin,
muscular, she jokes, from beating children, and when
the baby sobs as Mommy leaves for wood shop class
or a meeting, she springs to the crib and shakes
the wailing child: “If you don’t stop that right now
I’ll beat you to a bloody pulp!” Her sunglasses flare out
toward her temples like the sly, outspoken fins on the powder-
blue Mercury that she steers with the same hand that holds
the Reader’s Digest while the other applies Bougainvillea
lipstick; a billowing fan of dust rises behind the speeding car
where the children rest on sticky vinyl seats, secure
in their mother’s love. Sometimes at night she fastens
rhinestones to her ears and poufs on pungent green perfume,
sets the cummerbund on Dad’s tuxedo so he looks
like a movie star with all the crop dust washed off him.
We watch them drive off toward a lurid sunset of blazing
orange and pink as night grows around the purple
shoulders of the mountains, and everything around us
smells of dirt and work and farm chemicals.

First published in The Belly Remembers by Pearl Editions

 

 

At Eighteen by Alexis Rhone Fancher

When I wanted to be seen
When I danced out to the edge
When I was so afraid to love

When I longed to be a Marilyn
When I slept my way to the top
When I opened my legs but not my heart

When I shouted at my mother over dinner:
“When I grow up I’ll be somebody,
not like you.”

When I took a lover twice my age
When I told him I wanted photos
wearing only my grandmother’s

ruby necklace
When he shot me, butt-naked on
my mother’s oriental rug

When I went home to flaunt the affair
When I fluttered a cache of the photos
onto her bed

When she walked to her closet and opened
the bottom drawer
When she handed me a large, blue envelop

When I looked at photos of my mother, naked,
her young face wicked, movie-star dreamy,
When I recognized the girl who wore only a ruby necklace

and looked like she had plans even bigger than mine

When she said, “I was only sixteen. He was forty.”

First published in Poets & Artists Magazine.

 

 

Infested Fruit By Ravitte Kentwortz

Mother had bitter orange
hair and breasts larger
than other moms in my boarding school.

She didn’t use them
to breastfeed. In her
kitchen, when I visited,

poppy seed rolls she rolled,
dropping condensed milk
into dough’s opened mouth.

Now in her seventies, she
bears on my table, heaving

to devour
peaches, a bushel
of wet peanuts.

Kale in the heat —
the ground lamb weeps.
Then sizzles.

Nana comes too. Time
her cellar filled with food
before the war, she says,

a good year for pears.
When grandfather was taken,
Nana hid. Torn

bags of grain
under her house. Halved frozen peaches
in the cellar.

When he returned, imagine
with what hunger
they had my mother — she says, time

she was tiny and blond, like
an infested fruit,

strapped
to his chest, mouth stuffed
with cloth.

Night
they packed her and rooted
for roots under brittle sugar.

Nana says, your mother
was held
by your father.

Her teeth cut teeth in his flesh.
She did not tell
of my roots,

that strapped her in so many veins,
taking her food. My father still
stands there —

as she batters her
belly with me in her
right hand, blue

blue stains of shriek,
stuffed blue, on
strawberry lips.

 

 

Mother by Mary McCarthy

I dreamed her wicked
with shining eyes
and long fingernails
that poked and pinched
an unexpected ambush
in a dark room
the sudden flash of teeth
erupting
from what was not
a smile-
another nightmare
with too many wrong turns
to take me anywhere new
She couldn’t really afford
long nails
with so much work to do
no time for any such
foolishness
for rage or spite
or the simple need
of a woman starving
out of sight
hidden behind
her many children
feeding them
feeding them
keeping nothing
for her own hunger

 

 

I Love You, Catherine, but I Don’t Like You by Catherine Zickgraf

Mother,
your words sounded fair at the time—
but they hung like ghosts in the air,
like Dad’s work shirts filed headless
on the basement line.

I’d watch for larks out the window at lunch
after buttoning all those shoulders onto hangers
in the breezeless dark.

 

 

Fallout by Carolyn McAuliffe

Fuchsia blooms flirt from thorny clusters of cacti to passersby, taproots plunge valley-deep chapped with thirst below the still, open road. The jointed cane cholla boasts petals in shocks of crimson, creamy white, and yellow like the billowy collars of a circus clown. Saguaros stand tall, fixed amongst the creosote, agave and shade of the nurse-mother mesquite. In communion and praise the elders bear their naked ribs and reach toward the open, sleepy sky.

I see you tug at the stretch of belt across your swollen midsection. I see your mind click and check and click again. So tired. Too many fitful nights tangled in damp sheets, pillows tucked between your thighs and wedged at the small of your back. You defend and you resist. You shift from supine to prone, roll left and right, while I dig my bony knees so hard from the inside out. Stretch and reach and push. I see you carry the weight of me for miles.

He flicks a cigarette butt out the window while a mournful tale of promises broken plays on the radio. You smile like a schoolgirl and imagine him singing it to you. You shake your head and watch him tap his fingers to the drum beat on the dashboard. You feel a kick and now you’re glad you had that second slice of pie at the diner 20 miles back. I see you peel back the flaky crust layer by layer, until the prongs of your tinny fork sink into the brown-sugared apple insides.

A sliver of light rips the sky wide open. A thunderclap sounds. A million tiny pieces of glass rain down on you, and him and her. You hold close the ink-eyed beasts circling from above. You embrace the barbed pads of the prickly-pear, ripping the fleshy skin until the juices erupt into a deep swell of grace. I split your belly in two and I am forcibly plucked from your core. Wings flap wildly as frayed feathers fall from the half-light sky.

With the tip of your finger you trace the fallout. Below your navel a thick, raised pinch of skin trails south. I see a razorback formed by the dry sweeps of wind, scorpions, and serpents of the sand. Did we quench our mouths on the well-spring? I see you push back the dry brush and brambles. On arid dust you choke with palms raised to the sky. You whisper, Lorraine. A pretty name, Mama. Very pretty.

 

8Mother_and_Child_II_by Graham Crumb

Tamara Madison is the author of the chapbook The Belly Remembers, and two full-length volumes of poetry, Wild Domestic and Moraine, all published by Pearl Editions. Her work has appeared in Chiron Review, Your Daily Poem, A Year of Being Here, Nerve Cowboy, the Writer’s Almanac and other publications. She is thrilled to have just retired from teaching English and French in a Los Angeles high school.

Alexis Rhone Fancher is published in Best American Poetry 2016, Verse Daily, Plume, Rattle, The American Journal of Poetry, Diode, Tinderbox, Nashville Review, and elsewhere. She’s the author of four poetry collections, including State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (2015), Enter Here, (2017), and Junkie Wife, (2018). Her photos are published worldwide, including River Styx, and the covers of Witness, Heyday, The Chiron Review, and Nerve Cowboy. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly. She lives in Los Angeles. www.alexisrhonefancher.com

Ravitte Kentwortz is an immigrant to the US. She studies philosophy in Colorado. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Posit, Portland Review, Caliban, MARY and others.

Mary McCarthy has always been a writer, but spent most of her working life as a Registered Nurse. She has had work published in many print and online journals, including Gnarled Oak, Praxis, Third Wednesday, The Ekhprastic Review and Earth’s Daughters. Her electronic chapbook Things I Was Told Not to Think About is available as a free download from Praxis Magazine.

Catherine Zickgraf has performed her poetry in Madrid, San Juan and three dozen other cities. But she’s differently-abled now—walking with a cane and flying in her sleep—so her main jobs are to hang out with her family and write more poetry. Watch/read her at caththegreat.blogspot.com and run/jump while you are able.

Carolyn McAuliffe resides in Southern California with her husband Mike and son Michael. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from San Diego State University. Carolyn’s work has appeared in a Wising-Up Press Anthology and The Motherhood Muse.

 

 

Lion mother photograph by David Dennis. Human mother photograph by Graham Crumb.

(Three Little Words) by Alexis Rhone Fancher

 For Francesca Bell.

1.
M has never said I love you before.
Not to me.

2.
He cries at weddings, like a girl.

3.
The sex is only good if we’re totally fucked up.
It blurs how wrong we are for each other.

4.
English is not M’s native tongue. It eludes him.

5.
Maybe he misspoke?
His prepositions hang mid-air.

He says it’s hard to think when it’s hard.

6.
M’s white teeth nibble at my clit like a ferret.
The two front ones indent slightly;
it makes him look goofy, like a joke.

Sometimes when we have sex, M’s calico meow trips
across my back. Rakes a claw. Caterwauls.

She doesn’t want me here.

Sometimes when we have sex, I am the one in heat.

7.
Outside, the tin roof rain suicides
on the hard-packed earth.

M is fucking me from behind, his
body melded into my ass, fingers kneading my breasts.
He’s mumbling up the courage.
I know what he’s trying to say.
I want to fuck him mute.

8.
In the bedroom there’s this
Dennis Hopper photo of Tuesday Weld,
driving, top down, blonde hair streaming.
Circa 1968. She’s unfettered.

Why can’t he see that
I am that girl, my top down,
my hair streaming,
my consequence-less life?

9.
M. bought the print for me but
I don’t want it.
I want nothing from him but
a silent film, a carnival.
I want him to want that, too.

I want him to shut up but
he zeros in on my ear

and says it.

 

First published in Cactus Heart Magazine, 2014.

 

 

Alexis Rhone Fancher is published in Best American Poetry 2016, Plume, Rattle, Diode, Rust & Moth, Nashville Review, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. She is the author of How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and other heart stab poems, (2014), State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (2015), and Enter Here (2017). A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly.
http://www.alexisrhonefancher.com

 

Photograph by Adhvaith.

when your mother convinces you to take in your homeless younger sister by Alexis Rhone Fancher

She will date your boyfriend.
She’ll do it better than you ever did.
She’ll have nothing but time.
He’ll start showing up when you leave,
train her to make him the perfect BLT,
(crusts off, avocado on the side),
encourage his cheating heart,
suck his dick so good he’ll think
he’s died and gone to Jesus.

Your sister will borrow your clothes,
and look better in them than you ever did.
Someone will see her with your boyfriend
at the Grove, agonize for days
before deciding not to tell you.
Meanwhile he’ll buy her that fedora you
admired in Nordstrom’s window, the last one
in your size.

When you complain, your mother
will tell you it’s about time you learned to share.

While you’re at work, your sister will tend your garden,
weed the daisies, coax your gardenias into bloom.
No matter how many times you remind her,
she will one day forget to lock the gate;
your cat and your lawn chairs will disappear.

Your mother will say it serves you right.

Your sister will move into your boyfriend’s
big house in Laurel Canyon. He will ignore her,
and she will make a half-hearted suicide attempt;
you’ll rescue her once again.

Your mother will wash her hands of the pair of you,
then get cancer and die.

Smell the white gardenias in the yard.
Cherish their heady perfume. Float them in a crystal bowl.
Forgive your sister as she has forgiven you.

 

First published in RAGAZINE, 2015

 

 

Alexis Rhone Fancher is published in Best American Poetry 2016, Plume, Rattle, Diode, Rust & Moth, Nashville Review, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. She is the author of How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and other heart stab poems, (2014), State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (2015), and Enter Here (2017). A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly.
http://www.alexisrhonefancher.com

 

Detail of Rembrandt, The Sisters, Eleanore and Rosalba Peale.