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About this poet

Lindsey D. Alexander is the author of the poetry collection, Rodeo in Reverse, forthcoming from Hub City Press in 2018. Her poetry has appeared in the Southern ReviewWaxwingArts & Letters, and Devil’s Lake, where her work won a 2015 Driftless Prize. She produces Story of My Life, a podcast that features guests over the age of seventy. She lives in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

The Dream and a Shame

I was an observer: my own student
and my best teacher
in the forest working the lyrics together.
There were bees in his beard,
in a good way.

She cupped his chin: this
was platonic and also the source
of some honey. He fed her
two lines he had kept inside his soul
for years. I woke to write them and could

only remember alone.
He left and she
grabbed a banjo from a tree—
completed the song and bettered
it, besides. Something like “The Passionate Shepherd”

but blue, which the Impressionists
knew to put a touch of in every shadow.
Cut to: the sprung-open backs of a dozen watches.
Time was
busted; still

I didn’t fix the hands of clocks I could have moved.
The bells and cuckoo birds,
the dancing German ladies
with their aprons and their steins
shilly-shallied willy-nilly

throughout the day. And anyway,
I’ve learned naught if I haven’t learned not
to tell anyone when he or she
has appeared in a dream—
he or she never takes it the right way.

It does all sound unseemly, I admit—especially the horse, which I’ll get to.

Though I do want to ask—I guess
it’s less of a question, more of a comment—
if the song or the honey skips
a generation, the same as twins
or a quick temper?

Before the dream I was thinking of the horse
who bit the cowboy so you could see straight
through to his skull.
The horse that won’t be broken isn’t a romantic
story—it’s a shame and ends

with the horse hurting
a human then being put down.
Damned if I don’t worry that the horse is a mirror,
like the trainer says. Damned if I’m too afraid to push myself
out even so far as my own dream.

I only have two tools:
attention and inattention.

The rest—
just for show.

But credit where it’s due:
that banjo in the tree was a nice touch, subconscious,
a real lucky break.

Copyright © 2017 Lindsey D. Alexander. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Spring 2017.

Copyright © 2017 Lindsey D. Alexander. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Spring 2017.

Lindsay D. Alexander

Lindsey D. Alexander

Lindsey D. Alexander is the author of the poetry collection, Rodeo in Reverse, forthcoming from Hub City Press in 2018.

by this poet

poem
Never get a husband. They never will make cheese plates without a fuss. Get a dog
with thumbs.	

Sometimes when my husband does the dishes, I rampage. I rampage when
                                     for some reason 
                                     the glasses look
dirtier
poem
Dog that won’t stop barking and all I can think:
I don’t know anything about stars—		

not what they’re called or how they form, but how

we turn stars into stickers to surprise
our children and assure them You are better
than normal children. 				

On boat decks, sailors cry out Orion
poem
                                  But then there’s the beauty of the rodeo:

		the buck and nod, 
				                      that arch and stretch
			        against gravity.

	
		    A bronco’s no square peg,
and neither am I.

		Pegs or no, we both flex
  			our more resistant muscles—			

			strong-legged,