Alexander Batkin

My Nephew Ties His Feet

My nephew ties his feet to an antique mirror
a           rooster, a         bull red             gondola.
The SUVs and Snow White
had all played poker here with their therapists,
the boy sitting on a rubber band ball grins,
the boy atop the lighting tower drops his seed
between the wispy hips of the town whore.

Who here has long hair?
The son of a sperm donor
is the son of an actress             is the friend of
Al Pacino the one whose birthday it is?
I played ball here with the accountant,
the son of the man who sold tool boxes,
the migrant worker in the dance hall
down the block. If my hair doesn’t cover it,
you’ll see the town on my left hip
is tattoed with the image of a finger.
The things on my nephew’s: a
slot machine, billiards, a score card.

There Is A Photograph

There is a photograph.
Out the window,       a thread,
a pigeon,           the street vendor’s laugh
and sneeze,         a voice that says a boat a
boat a boat
,       the place where My actress
called the sperm donor, the
hand-me-down doll cutting the
cake with her sheaf of immigration
papers clutched tightly in her hand.

My actress is the man who delivers food,
the kitten staring into the water of a bathtub,
the mop water in new sheets, a redbud
from behind the window,
a beast, a feminine bug
dragging her torn stockings to dinner.

My actress gets sick and has a feeling.
She says there are things
she doesn’t know yet: How the food will taste,
that her son knows the sperm donor’s name
(that he looked it up).

Actress, because you don’t die
you’ll have a scorpion in your boot
the waiting morning,                and finally,
when he arrives, the delivery man
will track the snow inside.

He Says You Can’t Make Hell

He says you can’t make hell from this pinnacle.
The boats are restless,
the nephew arranges his cars,
the dog startles back into a dream.
What had been a blue goddess on a rock
became the girl with a secret climate, an
outsmarted tub, the idiot orchard of a golden
monument,     an attic fart.

Then he says, I am putting everything in my tub.
I don’t make sense of pyrography, as you
can imagine. In an earlier event of the dog
in an oval portrait, I made up
the attention I paid to your lives.
Then in a dream I bruised the dog, I bled
the boats in a harbor. But, surely,
he says, it’s not about who gets there first.
It’s about fitting the most inside.

Don’t Tell Me You Are Impatient

Don’t tell me you are impatient
for what the logic might say. Oh?
Yes, I know that hum, fatigueable streak,
open armed aspirate, the ghost’s purchased hair,
the Southerner had said. Myself, I’m more
of a dancer, though I had wondered about sketching
the performance completely. Where one woman hands
a spear to her neighbor. And over again.
Remind me not to bury my door knobs
under the bush
when spring comes. Remind me
to add just a bit of the brine. Carefully. So what is
coming up the steps will not be retrieved
by this scenery. Or the drunk will not
come in to the photograph of a city. The bird
is without, for instance. I bought subversion
at the drugstore. I bought the orchard’s dumb
accent at the drugstore. I bought the hydrangeas
turning blue.

Alexander Batkin is a young poet in upstate New York. He thinks about the South. He thinks about his relatives who claim they are related to Alexander Hamilton.
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