The Poetry of Alexis Ivy

Alexis Ivy lives in Brighton, Massachusetts. Her recent poems have appeared in Main Street Rag, Off the Coast, Common Ground Review, The Chiron Review, Tar River Poetry, and is upcoming in J Journal and Eclipse. Her poetry collection Romance with Small-Time Crooks will be published by BlazeVOX in 2013.

DEATH ROW

Texas has taken the last meal away.
Inmates were asking too much.
The people they murdered
didn’t ask for a last meal.
They, meaning the man who asked
for an olive, just one olive with the pit
still in it. The man who asked for a
pound of strawberries, candy bars,
Take 5’s, Mary Jane’s, a king-size
Milky Way. A plea for sugarless
pie with vanilla ice cream—melted,
every detail reported
in the Dallas Observer, how
they took their eggs, beaten
and scrambled, over-easy,
sunny-side-up and cage-free,
their steak prepared rare.
Indiana gives their condemned
a last meal three days
prior to execution because they are
expected to lose their appetite by
the final hours. The man who asked for
a vegetable pizza to be given to a home-
less person in Nashville. The felon
who wanted a plate of dirt.
Requests denied.

SHELTER

It isn’t that I couldn’t set the table
properly, it was my appearance
that the kitchen chief took issue with.
After all my bangs do
hang, my bra strap is out of place
and if this then that and I’m sorry

I’m sorry. Didn’t I peel and cut a hundred-
sixty carrots for soup? Didn’t I fill
every shaker? Didn’t I plate
Wednesday’s Tuna Casserole, fold
all the aprons, do dishwasher duty?
I do everything I’m told.

The guests request easy on the broth
cover their coffee with milk, their food
with hot sauce. Problem is
my hair doesn’t go up all the way, loose
falling like the dress I’ve turned into a shirt.
I should join the line in the shelter
not volunteer, be served instead.
I’m not pocket change in a paper cup.
I’m opening canned peaches for when
the oranges run out. I’m listening to
the woman who tells me not to
speak to the men that work here,
they are hers, So don’t. I’m announcing
who wants seconds as I help myself.

WHAT HEROIN THINKS

i make mistakes
and get her to

make mistakes
so she’ll keep me

warm all night tonight
i let her back

in my room like she was
never really off me

ask which bed she wants
to crash in which bed

she wants to use
Why, Sweet

Relapse,
yours

HEROIN OFFERS ME A CIGARETTE

I light one of my own.
I like my own.

Since I’ve read Bukowski,
nothing’s beautiful anymore,

it’s always somebody
to save, and somebody

save me: a sure-sign,
ever-refined, adamant.

If only I could hurt
his feelings instead

of mine. If only
I could quit things cold.

–THE DIFFERENCE

Flushed my stash down
the toilet. Eighty-three
capsules. And maybe

the green was good-night’s-
sleep. The blue, revelation.
Pink made me popular

in the parks downtown.
And every white I kept
a fist on, that was the best one,

it prescribed me.
I had no friends to send
greeting cards, no happy

this, happy that.
How far I’d go
in my self-defense—

I’m not that bad, not bad
like them, never sold,
robbed, been in debt.

No arrests. Never used
a needle, just slid
into the direction of sliding.

I never died. Thank God
for that. If I believed in God.
Thank God.

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