Three poems by Amy Alexander


Dying in the snow
is said to be a peaceful
way to steal out of
the days and days.

I wondered about it that year.
What was the point?
Sky and horizon
poured from the same pail,
so spare,
into the wind,
dry as pocket mints
seen new at the offset,
but gas pipe condensation
sponges away all the glimmer.

I found Mozart’s Requiem
in a bin at the municipal library,
my breath lifted four decades of lint
and dust rabbits,
the first animals I’d seen since the leaves fell.

At home,
the needle rested on
ghosts singing
the oldest kind of tears,
known in caves and birth beds.

Mozart died to the Lacrimosa,
at the same place I found reason to keep going.
Buried in the snow
was a sentence from Salzburg
I could finish in my own small way.


The Biopsy

Inside maps are what we’re made of.
Mine is purple, red, yellow,
and a sky blue pebble
that draws a crowd.

I become an expedition.

Today, I’m just one in a line
of women who can divine
what the earth must feel
with mankind in her midst.

It’s Thursday,
and my mud has something
shimmering inside of it.
It must be handled,
and I must pay.

Is a very small violation
any less a violation?

Can the body
or dirt care
at the time of the digging
whether or not
one needle or spade
keeps another at bay?

I don’t know if I’m made this way.


Garden State

Home can look strange,
in jeans,
legs hitched up on the plastic lobby chair,
stereo phones larger than ears
and a broken brain
beyond repair

In the small cage,
the hamster blurs, urgent,
on its silver wheel
and feels familiar.

He has also ventured there.

The place with
no word for stop,
so the only choice
is dying.

He wonders if home
would hold him to her chest,
eulogize him
in the frozen yard
filled with cardboard boxes
and fragile bones.

If she would remember the one thing he’s forgotten
and cry, the way she does
for a small fur thing,
rain on the skin,
salt in the mouth.

Amy Alexander is a poet, writer, and visual artist whose work has appeared most recently in Split Lip Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Cease, Cows, Elephants Never, Cabinet of Heed, The Mojave Heart Review and many more splendid magazines. She lives in Baton Rouge with her two kids and husband, about a mile from the Mississippi River. She has always lived near rivers. Her book, “The Legend of the Kettle Daughter,” is forthcoming from Hedgehog Poetry Press in April 2019. Follow her on Twitter @Iriemom.

Our JustGiving page is open for donations to the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund – no amount is too small if you feel moved to support.

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

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