Two Poems

Alexis Pope


​There was the car ride back from Arizona
or how the light just played like 
a misfiring trombone that was the real stuff.
Now we’re misbehaving and like a cup of ice
we’re too wet to stay the same. A flavor that sits
silently in my mouth and we’re feeling like rocks
so we can’t touch anything. I am just a little
frightened. This water tastes mineral.
I am humming in the way you can’t stand.
With the window down I will scream so delicate.
I can feel you like a flowerpot and I am so
quiet now. My arms are covered in dirt
and the petals in my ears sound like mountain.
I never wanted you to look like this. A small
misstep on the way to who could care.
The only color in the box is yellow
and there is no sunlight. Follow me
into the still lake. The fish maybe are right
with their big eyes and slippery skin. Nowhere
is the water this cold. I am an image of dust
and the breeze beginning to pick up. Take me
under. The film over my mouth
and I can struggle. It’s okay to hold me or not.
I’m feeling like sea bugs and maybe
more attractive than I should. A street lamp
reflected in a puddle. So much water
everywhere. A saltwater identity and a fascination
with what we can’t see. We are only holding on
not to drown. The car is filling up but I’m feeling
very thirsty. There isn’t enough here and yes
I’m dying. It will take some time.

About The Writer

Alexis Pope Split Lip Magazine

Alexis Pope lives in Ohio where she co-curates The Big Big Mess Reading Series and is contributing editor for Whiskey Island Magazine. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Columbia Poetry Review, iO, Sixth Finch, Phantom Limb, and Death Hums, among others. Sometimes she posts things here:



The Collapse of My Exotic Fish Tank

​Underground, a place like the Alabama coast:
it’s so strange to say these things out loud.

Feeling quicksand we flip to another time
and our bathing suits are much too snug.
Another month we might go sailing,

but this humidity wraps around us like heavy
fruit. Current of similar being, babies

with no parents. Just splashing
in the waves and swimming with all these arms.
Stench of August reaching in this pit below my lungs,

a struggle in the inhale without the tubes. It’s like drowning
if I knew what that felt like. I want to wipe off

my lipstick. I feel so artificial. Red 40, very large
tomatoes. A place to drown comfortably.
The whales are in the basement. A fish tank

in the washing machine. Everything is filling up
and we’re not so fancy. Tomorrow may be too late
or too soon depending on what we trust the afterlife to be.

When everything turns ocean, this is happiness really.
A face that doesn’t end in mirrors or full cheeks. I am

a happy somersault of electricity. A bud and the honey
and we’re missing something, I think. Hold onto me.
A backstroke or handstand while my feet can still

peek out. The walls are beginning to bleed an algae
of terrible proportions. I swim to the top of the stairs

to discover I cannot stand. We pulled the plug and now
we complain like pilgrims. I’m speaking in bubbles and
something tropical is happening. Do not negotiate,

it won’t do any good. A walrus swims by as we build
beaches out of plums.