(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.

#MeToo: Sister Poem #5 -Double Date: The Quarterback, The Fullback, & The High Cost of Dinner by Alexis Rhone Fancher

When the date ends, your sister will
kiss the fullback goodnight on tip toe
under the porch light, her soft curls a halo
illuminating her naivety.

You, on the other hand,
will stare at your bare feet.
Not shy: Sullied. Seething.

Your sister will thank the fullback for dinner
at Tony’s on the Pier,
the copious cocktails and signature chocolate mousse.
She’ll tell him she had a wonderful time.
That she hopes she’ll see him again.

You will say none of these things.
You will mind your manners.
You will try not to think how the quarterback
just forced himself into your mouth.

You will bite your tongue and smile,
pretend his baller body
hasn’t just slammed into yours,
that he didn’t wipe his penis on your sheets
when he was done,

that while he was assaulting you,
you didn’t wonder if the fullback was out there,
raping your sister. If he, too, was brutal.

In fact, your sister and the fullback only
watched tv, making out, but just a little.

You had no way to know this.

You lie there and take it for your sister.
You think about her delicate spine,
believing if you play it wrong,
he might snap her like a sparrow.

They eye the closed door of your bedroom.
They share a knowing smile.
They know nothing.

 

First Published in Tinderbox Poetry Journal, 2017

 

 

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