Alexis Pope
from A Healthy Relationship

Sometimes he will hold you down. Sometimes there will be a tearing up the Center. Small cuts in the Body’s Machine. We’ve done this before, you’ll say.


Somatic experience suggested. Live inside the body you call yours they say. A bullet flays to the west of the sun. Nothing drips on the tail of the future you tell me.


I am an intentional Act.

Announced over the loud speaker.

He overly sugars the coffee and leaves the bowl wet.

Faith is tested—meaning you walk to the lake.


Termites discover the not corpse. Might you take the parasite inside you. A clearing in the woods. Forgetting has been decided upon as the ultimate selfless act. This mechanism walls the uncertain reality. Where do you live now—I only know that it is not here.

Spend years escaping to be detained. Willingly the body survives, a shelf on the wall rattles. Hear the chewing from down the hall. Enter me already—take me inside of you he will say.


I say abstract. Reach through the air as to mimic an action. Tangible but I don’t say it because I worry about the definition.

Am I using this right. Tap, tap.


They bring you on a Tuesday. Brightly sharpened egg—costume of the present.

Be realistic on this. Survival counts the currency. There is a space, more like a parting, but no way over. So wait. Question intended for no answer. Of course, the advice is given—of course the right way is never.


What’s on your heart today.


With who—god?

No, the dirt here is too yellow. The copper drips from the sink. I’ve reached my hands deep into the sand.

He came out glistening.

Let’s genuflect.

If I take the host this whole church will burn to the ground they said. Once I repeated this as mine (a lie). And then, later that year, I took it and nothing happened. You feel nothing you say. You feel like nothing.


You will stand in the cold holding the lavender. To watch something beautiful die—do you have the capacity for this. Will you not flee.

Muscles develop under the bristles. A hornet carries your sadness above. He tells you to misplace yourself. Lie down because what brutalities can occur when we are docile.


When the skin flakes it's merely a reflection. He wipes it from the counter into the soup. Have you grown tired of being taken.

Have you.

Alexis Pope is a queer-mother-poet, and the author of That Which Comes After (Big Lucks, 2018), as well as several chapbooks, including Debt (Madhouse Press, 2017). Work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Hobart, jubilat, Powder Keg, Verse Daily, and West Branch, among others. Pope lives in Chicago.