Alexis Orgera


Inside a green apple, three brown
mothers calving. When I went to the rack-

and-ruin, gray green swollen bib lettuces
underlined the tower walls.

Soon you’ll be seeing Has-Been in the watermelons.
There are branches

I can’t understand: plum-fastened villages
of ripe. A salient groundswell,

jicama monoliths. Speaking
is languish.


A tincan monument to snow,
cauliflowers exhale
into the sound of highway.

Dead seas
in the erstwhile narrative
of pomegranate: give me heaven

or give me hell. I am dying.
In the supermarket, a raft of lights,
the banks of nakedboy greensomeness…

Smoking along the shoreline.
Eating a Granny Smith along the shoreline.
We all do things we don’t see coming.


Nighthawks in the rapini.

I am not dreaming.

Midnight in the all-night grocery.

Daylight mid-

night. I discover daybreak

& a miracle has lost its wings.


My dog & I share an apple
once a day as part of our love affair
with things creatures can do

in collaboration. Other things include
a father & daughter laughing
on the back porch together

over nothing, nothing. My father tells me
I’m pretty, looks at me
with his bluest eyes & tells me

something he means to tell my mother
thirty years ago & I’m compelled
to reveal who I am: not his wife

but her progeny. Maybe if I run down the street,
he says, I’ll catch up with myself,
which is prophetic when I think

about it, but contemplating
prediction leads to apocalypse—
the way our novels are set up, start

& finish, hatching & eaten, etc.
My dog doesn’t speak, though we nod
to each other in the morning,

something my father & I used to do
when a room was tumultuous.
My dog & I practice downward

facing dog together: Adho Mukha Svanasana,
the exact phrase we can all learn
from our dog-masters if we want

to disavow language
in a real & meaningful way.
My dog eats the apple core.

My father eats the apple core, too.
Where connections are made,
we learn new perspectives.

This could be a proof, which is,
of course, the naked truth
of its making.


At the back gate we contend
with egg shells, coffee grinds,
arms on fire. Such is the state of compost.

For every five people per square
acre, a grub dies. If you want
to know the truth, I love animals

more than people. I’ve dragged the dog
through the jungle. I am his Kurtz,
believe me. Then I’m letting the cat out

after ten years captive: my need to set
things free. I’m watching him now
as he tip-toes like a novitiate

through the front yard’s rapture. He hasn’t seen
the outside of a teacup since the hip
replacement. & now I’m watching him

sniffing & stalking, generally being
a cat, which is giving me a heart attack.
On the kitchen table, a pair

of binoculars at the ready, but first watching Dad
hallucinate fingers in his dinner plate.
I can’t live like this, he complains.

I believe him, I believe in the under-
carriage of his words like I would a vision
of the Virgin Mother. His is a language

beyond language. & here I am
worrying about a cat under the house
(because that’s where he is now)

& grass seeds from the dog’s adventures
on the ugly throw rug. It’s just that I don’t want
to think any more about escape

or decay. Even the compost
isn’t really compost because I won’t
let it decompose. Collard stalks

& rotting pumpkins perch above ground
saying hosanna into the air like we all do
when we taste our first & last freedom.

Alexis Orgera is the author of the books How Like Foreign Objects (H_ngm_n Bks) and Dust Jacket (Coconut Books), and three chapbooks. Her poems, essays, and reviews can be found in Another Chicago Magazine, Barrelhouse, Black Warrior Review, DIAGRAM, Drunken Boat, Forklift Ohio, Green Mountains Review, Gulf Coast, H_ngm_n, HTMLGiant, The Journal, jubilat, Memorious, Prairie Schooner, The Rumpus, Sixth Finch, storySouth, and others. She lives in southwest Florida where she is at work on essays about Alzheimer’s, migraines, hallucinations, dreams, and visions.

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