Three Poems by Elena Alexander

BOMB 93 Fall 2005
093 Fall 2005 1024X1024

The Lady A

I will arrive on your doorstep penniless,
old after vaulting the King
of Araby.
You always told me
to go screw a rich man.
I ran splay-legged that’s how
I went heedless under my own
steam in a room
of gold I wove into straw,
wore in my hair. Spare days spent sideways
galloping choking mountains
of garnet red dust casting
hot shadows mounted
on a mare’s back
sliding beneath her belly like Belle Starr.
New scars impressed themselves
upon my lips.

Materialized each morning,
disappeared, ach breakfast—
jam-and-tea. All the perfumes
on my hands sweet, then dark,
commanding days:
“Down, Erebus. Cerberus, play
dead. Sit. Stay.”

Bending the king’s embrace
I faltered, could not change
the air—rust obtained my fingernails, corroded
my skin
in patches I thought only of you.
Armor grew furry with neglect. Could not fill
days or ewers.
Cerberus bit
ran away in circles.

The vast quiet.
The empty cell.
A chambered heart,
the riches.

Crystal knocked echoed bones.
Solemn beasts roamed bleating, haunting
rocks, dying leaves vermilion.
There was some keening.
A dry cough.
Pebble in the singular.
Particles exhibit


In My Garden

There was never a God
in my garden. (Hydrangeas.)
I am the first of me and the rest
came as I—singular;
alone—except of course twins
and such. From my spit of land, spirit level,
I looked out.
None were admonished.

Frictive bractsgustshear?

None warned not to pick
the tree. The vine, fair game;
the game, all fair and fatty.

If l am to understand you talk in tongues.

Lobes urge poetry and troops.
Ancient stars depart, locusts arrive.
Only the craziest believe themselves
God. (Horseflies.) (Hydrangeas.)
If doubt is heresy I
(a buzz) then (silence)
and more—Silence!
No rattle. No hiss.



The Physics of a Wish

We blow frantically against small flames
to make them go—

Crisped wicks, naked, deposit
wax on icing;
creamy roses.

Other evenings, stunned by loneliness,
we idly note lapse
between lung and spark.

Time is wave, the fire dancer.
Space jiggles.
Collide sugar and eggs.

—Elena Alexander is a poet and writer. Her recent work has been published in American Letters & Commentary and Rattapallax 11. She is the author of Footnotes: Six Choreographers Inscribe the Page (Gordon + Breach, 1998) and her short story, “Sic Transit” (BOMB, 1996) received Honorable Mention in Prize Stories, The O. Henry Awards, the Best of 1997. Alexander’s translated writing appears frequently in the Serbo-Croatian journal Album, and has also been featured in Mentor (2000), a collection of Slovenian writing. She currently teaches at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark. She has just completed a poetry manuscript, “Head Shots.”

Three Poems by Elena Alexander

Originally published in

BOMB 93, Fall 2005

Featuring interviews with Arturo Herrera and Josiah McElheny, Jennifer Bartlett and Elizabeth Murray, Lincoln Perry, Anthony Downey and Yinka Shonibare, Eliot Weinberger and Forrest Gander, Lionel Shriver, Noah Baumbach and Jonathan Lethem, George Lewis and Jeff Parker, and David Rabe and Evangeline Morphos. 

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