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Published: Fri Jul 1 2016
Salman Toor, Fag Puddle with Candle, Shoe, and Flag (detail), 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, N.Y. Photo: Farzad Owrang.
from Or Beauty


before me the weeping

cradle the air
dark red with flowers

shadow-spidered limbs
oil-black bulbs

hang inside them
dangle & water-skim

from the boughs
all of the day around me

sucks into them & soon almost
_                  _nothing remains


the black sky
over the park

churns itself bright
over two sodden dogs

that drag zigzag
the empty lawn chairs

they are leashed to
a speechless train

heaves the woods
beyond into a blur

I could die
to the raw joyed

clattering in that
song last night: scalloped

clouds unbellied
a terrible rain

now: apple cores & wilted
popcorn on the picnic table

across the playground
I pull through

the puddles
I will kiss

the dirt & make it
_               _bloom

Alex Lemon’s most recent book is The Wish Book (Milkweed Editions, 2014). He is the author of Happy: A Memoir (Scribner, 2010) and three other poetry collections: Mosquito, Hallelujah Blackout, and Fancy Beasts. An essay collection and a fifth poetry book are forthcoming. His writing has appeared in Esquire, American Poetry Review, AGNI, Ploughshares, Best American Poetry, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. Among his awards are a 2005 Fellowship in Poetry from the NEA and a 2006 Minnesota Arts Board Grant. He is an editor-at-large for Saturnalia Books, the poetry editor of descant, sits on the the editorial board of TCU press and The Southern Review. He lives in Ft. Worth, Texas, writes book reviews for The Dallas Morning News, and teaches at TCU and in Ashland University’s Low-Residency MFA program. (updated 6/2016)

Lemon’s “from Hallelujah Blackout” is reprinted in The Best American Poetry 2008.

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