Alex Dykes | 3 poems


Her hands, 
delicate and deft, 
sterile and plastic.

She works out all the kinks 
she thinks she sees 
in me,

I play with my scabs 
as she plays my heart strings 
pulling melancholy effusions 
from the organ, 
and something different, utter, 
from another.

Her operating tables rise round, 
she holds me down 
with wet weight.

Caught rooms of convenience, 
in all the colors of stained glass, 
stained last my sunrise in new curtain cast 
enough days ago I do not remember its name.

hers is a love built up on stolen nights, 
sequestered away from prying eyes, 
heart's hard to find 
in any place we've shared.

So all those ships I set sailing sunsets, 
let from my thoughts and language, 
to pull down another night 
in the after-berth of a nod away, 
a failed kiss,

and the sea in me fell dead and unmoving, 
though her eyes passed over 
no pull piloted my pool 
in plasmatic breakers

and if my blood still stirs in her presence, 
I busy myself 
trying to remember all the things my heart already knows, 
as those are only the quakes of my coming apart. 

Memento Mori

Death does not come kissing for some, 
but instead rattles off nightmares 
to herald her coming;

pulled from the mouths of mothers, 
she weaves them to tumble from her crown,

to later lay in layers, 
over the eyes of the fevered dying 
so that they might look, 
with longing, 
upon the face of the old crone beneath the hill of the setting sun.

As she untangles herself from the mechanisms 
of the stopped clocks 
of their hearts, 
transcribes the lightning behind their eyes 
and sighs it into the aether.

Where it might dance and assimilate 
into passing motes 
of busied light. 


Brother walked with sister 
and said, 
"Sister I see you, like to me." 
and sister said, 
"Brother I see you, like to me." 
And they walked shadow in shadow 
long into the fields of morning 
and watched the sun.

They came after, at noon, 
to a tall and wizened tree, 
where sister said, 
"See brother, I can climb this old seed 
and hide from that stars high hour." 
and brother said, 
"Yes, and I will be here when you come down." 
 and began digging into the shade 
of it's roots.

And sister worried over, 
and balanced on, 
and explored every limb 
and changed according to her vantage.

While brother guarded jealously 
every line where the earth bent away 
 and breathed deep, and put out his tongue, 
to better taste the golden air.

And so he stood 
so there she stayed, 
as evening climbed up in the east, 
and still he stood

and so she stayed 
and in light of the moon whispered down, 
"Brother, I am hungry. Do you see that mouse 
in the high grass?" 
and brother said, 
"No, but I smell it." 
and sister said, 
"Would you go and bring it to me, only half, 
and you may have the other?" 
and brother said, 
"No." and, 
"I am sorry, but I cannot leave you alone."

And his stomach protested loudly 
from between his teeth, 
but still he stood.

The high moon,
bright as a mothers eye,
watched all and slowly in the dark hours, 
and late began an ominous 
and the sky grew vocal 
and wept and howled over the field

testing the high branches, 
so that sister grasped tight 
and her nails grew thin 
and sharp 
as she listened to the leaves sigh and rattle,

while brothers post rose wet and muddy, 
so he circled 
and listened to the wind.

When the cloud had passed, 
the moon had almost turned its light away 
and its inky ocean was lightening 
in deference to the sun.

And sister said, 
"Brother, someone is coming towards us." 
and brother said, 
"I see them, tall as we are long, I see."

And as the sky grew brighter 
the figure grew taller still 
but stopped.

And brother, thinking to scare the thing, 
threw back his head and howled like the wind, 
and sister hissed like the leaves to help him, 
but still the creature stayed and said,

"I am Man." and "Who are you so hungry?" 
and brother was quiet. 
"Then I will call you Dog. 
Come dog I have food." 
and Dog went, 
forgetting his sister and his place, 
and they turned away.

And sister, torn, thought, 
"Now I am alone, and worse, 
brother may be in trouble." 
But she new her aspects had grown fearful 
and so she cut in nine parts her soul, 
growing smaller each time, 
and said to each of them, 
"Should anything happen to me, 
follow my trail in the grass. 
I will walk apart from brother and the creature 
so that you may find them quickly." 
and balling her hand 
she hid away carefully each sharp nail, 
and leaped from the tree 
and said, 
 "Now I will be called cat." 
and followed her brother 
as the moon watched, a new sun
finally broke over the horizon. 



Alex is a poet from Johnson City, Tennessee. His poems cover a wide range of topics and strive to create a human narrative from the abstract and abiding forces of nature. He is not widely published but his work can be found in the archives of the Mockingbird (East Tennessee State’s literary journal) and in Gravel Magazine.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s