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Cole Alexander

We speak the same language 

With different tongues 


My tongue is snake-shaped, 

dripping poison, 

that tastes like honey and mead. 


I speak 


Chrysanthemums; sopping petal clumps fall from my mouth 

Patched-up jeans; summer baked 

First kisses; feel of heartbeats in fumbling fingertips  

Melted ice cream I slurp like soup 

Ant hills 

The smell of my Dad’s work truck; gasoline and water stains 

Apple butter; made fresh by soft hands, heavy cinnamon, served cold on butter biscuits 

Spam sandwiches 

Dryer warm clothes that smell like lavender soap and water must 

Grass stains on dad shoes 

Cornbread and seasoned duck 

Lies I tell you while the sun is up; hardpack lies, worn through and heavy 

Lies I tell myself after sunset; quicksand lies, choking, gasping, grasping lies 

Your tongue is polished brass, 

twisting cherry stems, 

and tastes like blood diamonds and castor oil. 


You speak 


Cheap cigarettes; ash lines the fleshy inside of your cheeks 

Gristly bleeding steak 

The motorcycle exhaust that drums and echoes in your sweaty garage 

Denim on denim; the good denim that hugs you right 

Spam sandwiches 

Rusty gun barrels that smoke and sizzle 

Sweet tea; sugar grit you have to shake up before you pour 

Sweat-stained leg pillows 

Morphine drips 

Tattered flag; half-mast 

Pill bottles on your bedside table; no prescription labels 

Lies you tell me on cloudy days; oil-slick lies, teary and breathy lies 

Lies you tell yourself after sunset; quicksand lies, choking, gasping, grasping lies 

Spring 2024

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