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Sample Poems by Alex Mezza


There's a lemon tree outside the laundromat with a faucet sticking out of it which drips dull cold water directly between my lungs and I cannot move to take a drink nor reach high enough to curb my hunger but I hear the rhythm of the washing machines hmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm and that, in the end, is what saves the shreds of my sanity. It doesn't stop my heart from being torn to bleeding pieces but I suppose that's what the rinse cycle is for. The people hang their dirty laundry out their windows for the world to see and I watch the clouds shape-shift in the early Sunday morning. It is quiet, this time of week. Perhaps some weary god really is resting. Someone should, I guess. By the time you come along I've stopped counting the dripping and even though you're not a plumber, the faucet listens to you as if you were. "Does that feel better?" You ask, in a soft sort of nervous sort of perfect sort of gentle sort of way. But I've never felt life without it, that dripping. I stand and reach for a lemon, and I find your waiting hand.

For the One I Marry or, Wedding Vows, first draft or, Longing

You are like a lemon.

A reminder:
Sorrento in April, the heat of it, the cold cold ocean, the light, the liquor, the hat I wore: all yellow.

A memory:
Lemon cake and tea with my Favorite Person. Milky blue eyes and a bulbous nose painting my portrait in a mind full of backwards things and straight forward answers. My lips curl around pale cake, white icing, a delicious hint of delightful tart. "Would you like some more?" I always want some more. "I'm fine," I say because I am full and I'm not supposed to let him spoil me. He looks as though my denial denies him more than me. I forget I am his Favorite Person too.

A promise:
You are a lemon. Cruel in flavor. Sour, unforgiving, lip curling teeth aching nose crinkling sharp. You bite and you are not sorry. Softly is not a word you seek, gently is not a word you are; you do not make vows. You do not trust anything so breakable.
And yet
The color of the afternoon sun is your soul, and the smell of hot, hard won victories are your bones, and the callus of broken earthy agonies are on your hands.
And you taste like lemon cake and Favorite People and the biting, uncivilized yellow. And you are not sorry, and I am not sorry and when you consume me, it is only with the knowledge that you merely got to it first. For I could never resist the taste of lemon on my mouth and you, my love, are nothing, if not that.


It is storming by the lemon tree at the laundromat. Thunder and lightning chase each other down the street as the rain poundpoundpounds against the glass table. You twirl the bracelet on my wrist and I love you all the more. I love you, I say in an empty room, as the thunder and lightning run. I love you, my hands say as they cup yours. Such delicious hands you have, so sweet, and so cold. Such delicious hands, like the rain, like the rain and the smell of softly fallen, dying leaves.

Late into the night I think of the electricity of my warm hands c

You let me hold your hands!)


The fresh lemons are frosted with snow. The faucet drips lukewarm water onto the pavement. The Cold leans against a washing machine and watches her socks go round and round the dryer. Soon they will become almost as light as feathers, but for now they are damp and clumpy. I hand her a cup of cocoa, extra marshmallows, and we watch the clump socks go round and round. The snow is not really here. It does not exist in a place with palm trees and desert air. I know this, and so does the Cold, and so, most of all, do the lemons. Now is meant to be the time of dying, but gardens still grow here, in the Backwards Place. We are beyond the meridian of what I do and do not know. The Cold has a chocolate mustache. She asks me about you. I tell her winter is the time of dead things. She laughs, watching her clump socks. No, she says. No, not quite.