Lampreys of Sunlight
The aftermath of a brilliant
Downpour—a shredded oak,
The street tumbling with shingles—
Is nothing compared to the almost
Good feeling a terrific beating
Can give you: how the nearness
Of death strips man unadorned.
But most often, our gift is
The burden of ignorance
& dreams: Sourdough & pickles
At the graveyard picnic &
Each night the woman who
Stands in your kitchen
In nothing but blinding white
Panties combs her lustrous hair
With a four-inch nail. This morning,
I nibbled a two-day old pancake
& realized that, along
The way, everything inside us
Gets broken. The cardinals
Are playing peek-a-boo. Ground-
Ward, the magnolia bends.
Alex Lemon is the author of “Happy: A Memoir,” and the poetry collections “Mosquito,” “Hallelujah Blackout,” and “Fancy Beasts.” Books of poetry and non-fiction are forthcoming from Milkweed Editions. His writing has appeared in Esquire, Best American Poetry 2008, Satellite Convulsions, and Tin House, among others. He lives in Ft. Worth, Texas, and teaches at TCU.