Alex Houen


Sometimes our shared mirror seemed to atrophy,
be up to nature only as no good.
Then all the stalactating sky-
scrapers would feel so sealed-
off—shot days before and projected on a screen
streets ahead of us. In nostalgia is no trophy.
His cutting words weren’t cash,
so weren’t payments—despite all the time he spent
with them. More pent-up playments. Every time I speak
of them I try to bite off a bit of my lungs
as breath, as gift, wanting only that spark
in my mouth of blood charged with turning to ash.
Perhaps he assumed the screen to become transparent—
projected himself an alley for a saboteur to appear
not himself. As if dark cries meant dark rise.
I refused to be his ally in this. He possessed the property
of rubbed amber, drawing scraps of paper
as notes about his drift to himself. In snow is no parent.
Remembering that loss he finally made memory vacuity
by emptying times into various items. All trials of being
at sea becoming anger at seeing a piece of loose change
discarded. Not listening, just sinking them all
into ink as a list of cases. But a list, like a case,

can’t contain itself; so each case spills its acuity.