Alexus Erin

On the Instructions

Get the love poems published
early, if you trust them. Use your degrees
in culture and osmosis and boy and
godland and fruitleather and negro spiritual.
Wade in brackish slow stream.
Know the thyroid to secrete, Jeep
to overheat- grass to pale, bowing emptier:
another thing for the birds to use, rattlebrained
but unconcussed. Wait
for the scream, the doorframed knot,
photo of a ratking, Smith & Wesson
at true north- gat, a phantom headboard
Wait for good news good news
good news good news good news

On Appetite

I said I would never be hungry again. I meant it as a threat
Now I think about threats: winter's resolute echo,

cold and loud as any move against rest. I ate alone, in stillness.
Only breakfast food. When I was in love, I wrote solely about bread

I didn't realize I was doing this. Every poem was a ball of dough,
made to be proofed, ovened and torn by companioned hands-

this very motion: a retreat, in order to return and be filled
What a good contradiction this is. I haven't eaten yet today;

I said grace, regardless. This how most of my poems go
I am excited to bake, and break bread with you again.

My threats are as such: I am willing to be left half-done, to go unfed
The growl isn't coming from my stomach. It is coming from my mouth

I Think it’s Wild that You Would Ever Expect Me to be Hungry Again 

Wisdom tooth.

When the spinach leaf cuticle is see-though
and I am waif, on my turning leg-

see-through. Five miles from my mother’s
house to the outskirts, running fast as bones

and brain allow. A good turning day,
then seasons spent flat against sprung

floors, watching for any archangel of beauty
to free me from a pedestrian

violence to this, the new violence. Girl,
there’s no pretty without it. Thin cotton

top, knee-high socks or pointe box
Splits sharp over knowing

There will be better than
this, in the mirror: today

Killer cop, going free
Free killer, going cop

Chord resolves to major key in any song
and I am susceptible to sobs in all weather

And not just that! But the polyphonies:
acapella groups, the Chicago Children’s Choir

With this, I see the new future: movie-montage
where nobody I was loving left

My slanted ceiling did not fill with those 
unsaid men, left unsaying. No hard left into

the coffee shop parking lot or catching
the train to the French-speaking part of the country

or nights it seemed somehow wise to brush
my tongue against the bottom lip of grief, split pasta

with grief at my kitchen counter, ask what
grief thinks it’ll want to eat tomorrow Erin is originally from Princeton, New Jersey and is currently living in Manchester, UK. She is a PhD candidate. Her poetry has previously appeared in Potluck Magazine, the Melanin Collective, The Nervous Breakdown, The Audacity (, the American Society of Young Poets, and a host of others. Her screenplay, American Lotus Project, won an award at Temple University’s Diamond Film Festival. Erin is the author of two chapbooks, St. John’s Wort (Animal Heart Press 2019) and Two Birds, All Moon (Gap Riot Press 2019).