I Don’t Own Any Watches


My lover told the air not to come
around here anymore. It doesn’t
matter that I wear the pleading
so well. How my chest holds
a sickness only my lover’s watch
could have implanted. Saturday
morning & no ray in sight as he
sits in a dorm room chair just big
enough to keep him from falling.
He calls me over. Gives me 10
seconds or he’ll teach me an old
lesson. The skin surrounding my
right eye is still dyed black from
his fist the last time his voice fell
from his lips that way. 10. Lord,
where are your arms? 9. Will today
be the day dead bees fall out of me?
8. The inner winding organs rust
with hunger. 7. How many balled
hands will it take to collapse into
numbers? 6. His foot tap against
the floor sounds like sunken birds.
5. Will I remember what it feels
like to be a woman lodged in an
occasional love? 4. I want to be
soft beyond the orbit of these
veins. 3. I’m ready to bury the
gamble. 2. Who has the recipe
for making a feast with scraps
of time? 1. I sprint to his arctic
lap—can he hear me conjure
wrists disappeared into wildfire?

Nadia Alexis is a poet, photographer and community organizer from New York City. Her poems have appeared in Duende Literary Journal, Kweli Journal, visceral brooklyn and elsewhere. Her photography has appeared or is forthcoming in TORCH Journal, fields magazine, and Mfon: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora anthology. A 2014 Callaloo Fellow and Puschart Prize nominee, she's currently a poetry MFA candidate at the University of Mississippi.