LEMONADE IS A LUXURY I DO NOT HAVE
When my mother gave me lemons, I couldn’t make lemonade
because it reminded me too much of
the kiss we didn’t share in December
when it was cold and I could’ve used it
could’ve needed it, wrapped it in sweaters and your red canvas
like a present under the Christmas tree my brother knocked over
broken tree with broken girl things.
It’s a 104 degrees outside and I don’t drink lemonade
drown in daddy’s sweet tea instead
dark orange like blood of angels
he loves me right
in July, you spread like a murder case over my kidneys
good thing I only need one
your eyes switched colors and I forgot why I drove to your house in the first place
somebody had died and you needed
my body, my scattered shards to analyze the situation
to convince you of the opposite verdict
not guilty, never guilty, it wasn’t a murder it was a suicide
it’s always a suicide
I did this to myself and you suffered for it
the settlement is in rose grey white
marry me spelled out in braille on the inside of my elbow
and they don’t tell you this about heroin
that it hits you when you don’t need it
but when you can’t help it
so you’re stabbing hard into the same puncture wounds
your last real girlfriend worked sleeplessly to stitch close
she was an artist type
but open wounds last longer than girlfriends so I pull the red string out
with my teeth, with your satisfaction charring my ribcage
Grey heaven with your body pressed against wood frame
white skin on white door and I kiss the petals off your lips
watch as flowers fall
she loves me
she loves me not
she loves me
she loves me n—
Fate doesn’t have time to finish
before you’re wrestling my shirt off and I’m sliding fingers
up underneath a red dress, bright as blood, and I think—
Sister, somewhere God is crying again
the string tightens, je serre
I die on a Tuesday night
house party with some love song in the background.
TO YOUR EX LOVER (I)
I thought I'd miss you but I don't.
I believe Cupid missed, tried to bandage our situation in dream glitter and surreal memories. In reality, he took an arrow and shot it through my lungs instead of my heart. I always needed you more than I wanted you around.
Truth is, I’m still breathing and your absence right now feels more of a friend than you were.
We went up in the smoke, and pretended we were choking on these dull grey clouds that came with burning up love like wood. I don’t know why you couldn’t stand the cold, when I craved it. Our house was always too hot to begin with, sticky sad lies tearing into my thighs when I tried to run away.
I wrote this poem in the shower with my head against the cool tile because I can't deal with warm temperatures anymore. Nothing reminds me of you like fire and tangerines.
I'm not a poet or a writer or anything special, but you felt like my whole world and I never want to feel that way again.
Nothing lasts forever but I promised you that we would because I had a different definition of time than most people. You just wanted something like most people. I’m sorry.
LAST THOUGHTS, AN EMAIL POEM
I like airplanes.
I like how they take time and condense it,
pray to Zeus despite his fickle tendencies,
create an intricate bond between all passengers
strangers strapped together with the click of a seatbelt, bound to
“all for one (airline) or not at all”
We’re all fighting for the same thing.
Because if the plane goes down, we all go down in one motion
together, we are bound by the probability,
possibility of death
with closer approximation than the entire human race is.
you’ll find this at the bottom of everything.
I wonder if Zeus knows my last words are to a stranger. I wonder if he cares.
I’m funny like that.
What do Gods know of love anyway?
Is it sacrifice, is it worship, is it push shove lust?
what do the gods know about love,
other than Aphrodite
who paints Paris red and Dallas blue
who makes you want want want
I just wanted to get home.
But desire is not love, it is only an echo of what could be. what should be. what will probably end.
I’m sorry they got it wrong, that the cherry tree in our garden was never enough for you. I would have made it bigger if. Never mind that.
I wanted to leave you my body, but the way my hands are shaking I know it won’t make it to you on time.
Keep the funeral on a Sunday and buy everyone flowers.
I’m sorry. a hundred times in green. ask for money, you need it. think of the children.
I would unbutton my spine for you, I would do anything.
I’m swallowing my wedding ring because that’s a far more poetic cause of death.
You can tell everyone that’s how I died instead.
ALEC VERSE is a genderfluid queer Indian poet with bad karma and honey salt on their thighs. They are known best from their poetry on their blog, xverses.tumblr.com, where Alec spins stories in complete lowercase for strangers. Their first chapbook, A Modern Muse, will be out soon to quell your hunger. When they are not writing, they are crying, making films, and sacrificing bones to Persephone.