Swallow It Whole

by Alec Hershman


Having tread into winter, a silence
dulls my red ears. I’ve come to snow
—its petty boost—
as if heaven could be reached
in increments.

                  There’s a little just-you-here
in every star. A house with its light on
that recalls a box I shook,
Christmas of my fifteenth year.
Not a sound. Cotton and cartilage
and boy-was, and boy to be.
It wasn’t just the ears that flushed,
that do. My steps have the method
of chewing, the syncopated ripping
of gift-wrap, and my hearing-aid
frozen and hard as a mouse’s heart.
As for sense and approbation:

my horizons have wrong blue nights
where trees go blind—and filigreed
with ink. Bald cypresses that lost
their owls, and thus, their blink—

by dawn the house is bone, unmarrowed.




Alec Hershman is the author of Permanent and Wonderful Storage (Seven Kitchens, 2019), and The Egg Goes Under (Seven Kitchens, 2017). He has received awards from the KHN Center for The Arts, The Jentel Foundation, The St. Louis Regional Arts Commission, VCCA, and The Institute for Sustainable Art, Living, and Natural Design. You can find links to his work online at alechershmanpoetry.com.


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