from THAT WHICH COMES AFTER by Alexis Pope

from THAT WHICH COMES AFTER

I am so reckless in these five-dollar jeans

A hammock is less comfortable than I’ve imagined

My hangover pulling a suitcase

Burn my arm on spilled wax

Walk around smelling like expensive pine

I’m a lightning round question no one can answer

We are meeting in the middle of the road

It’s not a safe idea but there are no other plans

I’ve never been in a helicopter

I’ve never laid my body against the traffic

There are some memories I block

Pill bottles and snow

There were mushrooms in West Virginia

Your chest burnt through the trees

Your hands in fists to the sky

I opened my mouth to let you in

There were questions we wanted answered

There was a life we were pleading back

The dark water doesn’t mind

However you planned to ask

We were born into these bodies

I have been hiding in this tent

If you stare long enough you fall

When we came on the opening

We knew the charges

We accepted the choices to get here

I sunk my knees into the mud

I watched your back contort

This man is an animal

This country has no savior

I live in a home where the wind blocks

Anything I could hear from her

Hasn’t happened again

There are deaths & other deaths

Sometimes we know reasons

Sometimes we search for blame

There is still a hollow where my body fell

Where he caught me and laid me out

The hood of the car til daylight

The drugs do wear off

And there are always pancakes

There are always lessons

You never understand

 
 


 
 
 

from THAT WHICH COMES AFTER

Buying tampons

Is like buying diapers

It doesn’t end

Until it does

My blood petals

Its beautiful meaning

Am able to create

A lust from man

Asks what that poem is

And I know he doesn’t

Care to know me

There’s a soreness

I move over

The lids and I am

So raw inside

Of this coming snow

Adjust my socks for me

Pull me up

Ask which side

Of the bed I prefer

To not wait for

A ritual is what

I make happen for myself

I canopy trust

Can you enjoy this

Look at me when

I’m crying don’t

Look away

Municipality occupies

A landmark freckle

Passed over

With your words

Can I wake with

You beside me

The you in me changes

At least it does

Here is there ever

Decisions aren’t

Made in the moment

Over time we

Capsize into whatever

We’ve been running toward

 
 

 
 
 

from THAT WHICH COMES AFTER

I walk around holding my sex

Like orange juice

Fresh squeezed

Seems like half a life ago

The tender morning complaints

What have you birthed

In the blue January light

Phones reach across the states

Tangled in cord

Realize a paper moon

Woke with a handsome

Gin headache

Thought about calling

Thought about not

Distant grey sky

What does it look

Over you

The blankets we under

Stand again inside

When is the last time

You pledged allegiance

To something great

Fifteen-minute orgasm

A lover cradles your chin

All these in-between days

This never-ending season

Anxiety disorder

Touch the pill to

Back of my throat

Another pointing

Excuse for breathing

The same air

 
 

 
 
 

from THAT WHICH COMES AFTER

There’s a river in Pennsylvania

And one in West Virginia

Both have meant specific things to me

Thrill of disaster underwater

Surfacing is not always kicking your legs

I’ve had some time to think about repercussions

I wore the swimsuit out under my clothes

Take the big clock off the wall

It’s too early or late for time

Don’t remind me of my ruptures

Thumb a small pebble in your palm

The sky is not always blue

There are truths we commit

Undoing a wrong never undoes

My boobs are a lot smaller than before

We require a percentage of fat to live

After the raft flipped

I knew I didn’t want to die

Doesn’t mean I deserve

Blueberry pancakes on Tuesday

What don’t I know about your voice

Grind of the pencil sharpener on the wall

What would it take to find out

 
 

 
 
 

from THAT WHICH COMES AFTER

Cast a net over my hips

Always thought love was about ownership

The dolphins get caught with

There’s no love left in that

Lots of sea life isn’t very cute

Let’s talk about seals

Write an essay on my disease

Name it hole in the water

Breakfast is always served at 7am

Too early for food if you ask me

I’d say there was a day I fell out

But, no, I can’t circle it in

Whatever the name of the crayon

My body stays tired after sleep

You can’t name a street after your boyfriend

What man has ever listened to the rules

One day light will never come

That’s ok I tell you

We won’t be here to see it
 
 

 
 
 

Alexis Pope is the author of one book and three chapbooks. Pope’s work has appeared in Bat City Review, Barn Owl Review, Denver Quarterly, Poor Claudia, Powderkeg, and The Volta, among others. She lives with her daughter in Chicago and Instagrams as mysticpizzaroll.