Alexis Rhone Fancher (Western Voices 2023)

Bio: Alexis Rhone Fancher is a multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, published in Best American Poetry, Rattle, The American Journal of Poetry, and elsewhere. She’s authored 
nine poetry collections, including DUETS (Small Harbor), and EROTIC: New & Selected (NYQBooks). BRAZEN, again from NYQ Books, publishes in early 2023.


Midnight in the Backyard of Lust and Longing

The sapphists are at it again. Screw you’s! ricochet off our common walls, invectives landmine my window. You cheating bitch! Like clockwork, this drunken Friday night climax to their ceaseless lovers’ quarrel. I’ll kill you! I hear the big one growl. And then the smashed plates, the screams. By the time the cops arrive it’s a full-out brawl, the two women spilling from their back door, tussling across the no man’s land between their tiny backyard and mine. Worse than animals. This time it’s Holly, the younger one, dragged to the patrol car, yellow hair wilding, small hands cuffed behind her back, kicking at the cops in those Daisy Dukes, an army jacket waifing her silhouette. More clothes than she had on the last time the cops rolled up. Or the time before. It’s almost dawn, and the trees shiver in the fog, raccoons slink through the tall grass. Marie, Holly’s better half, paces the yard in a blue bathrobe and slippers, smoking a cigarette, sobbing as the cops jam her lover into their car. Watch her head! she cries, and flings herself across the yard, lunges for Holly through the glass. Baby! Baby! she sobs, the reason for their discord forgotten. Holly mouths a sloppy kiss. Marie opens her robe, presses herself against the glass. Can you believe it? I would give anything to be loved like that. 

(Originally published in Slipstream Summer 2019)
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CRUEL CHOICES

When my husband’s two grown daughters are in town, the three of them go to the movies, or play pool. Share dinner every night. Stay out late. I haven’t seen my stepdaughters since my son’s funeral in 2007. When people ask, I say nice things about the girls, as if we had a relationship. When people ask if I have children I change the subject. Or I lie, and say no. Or sometimes I put them on the spot and tell them yes, but he died. They look aghast and want to know what happened. Then I have to tell them about the cancer. Sometimes, when the older daughter, his favorite, is in town, and she and my husband are out together night after night, I wonder what it would be like if that was me, and my boy, if life was fair, and, rather than my husband having two children and I, none, we each had one living child. His choice which one to keep. Lately when people ask, I want to lie and say yes, my son is a basketball coach; he married a beautiful Iranian model with kind eyes, and they live in London with their twin girls who visit every summer; the same twins his girlfriend aborted with my blessing when my son was eighteen, deemed too young for fatherhood, and everyone said there would be all the time in the world.

(Originally published in ASKEW, 2016, Nominated for a Pushcart Prize, 2017)
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WHITE FLAG
On Edward Hopper's painting, "Morning Sun," 1952

No one paints loneliness like he does. Those half-clad women by the bed,
on the floor, hunched over, staring out the window, in profile or from behind,
always clean lines, such worshipful light. The gas station in the middle
of nowhere, estranged couples on the bright-lit porch after dark. Even the boats
sail alone. And the diners. The hatted strangers, coming on to a redhead, a
moody blonde, all of them losers, all of them desperate for a second chance.
This morning the sunlight pried open my eyes, flooded our bedroom walls. I
sat alone, in profile on our bed in a pink chemise, knees drawn up, arms
crossed over my calves, staring out the window. Desperate for you. No one
paints loneliness like Edward Hopper paints me, missing you, apologies on
my lips. Come back. Stand below my window. Watch me beg for a second
chance. Downturned mouth, teary eyes, parted knees, open thighs, that famous
shaft of Hopper light a white flag, if only you could see.

(Originally published in H_NGM_N, 2013)
***

4 comments :

  1. These poems are masterful. How the poet sculpts heartache so the reader feels each moment of absence and presence and then that final line in Cruel Choices is crushing.... White Flag is a gorgeous exphrastic piece. I think Fancher's voice was made for Hopper.

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  2. Hi Alexis, wonderful words. This is my first time reading your poetry. I especially like the perspective of the second two, the second one most definitely as it highlights a controversial subject with powerful honesty (abortion as a loss).

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    1. Hi, dear Anonymous, Thank you for these kind words. Delighted you enjoyed my poems. I hope you'll check out my books. You may find something you like. <3

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  3. Thank you, dear L.P., Coming from you, such a masterful poet, is high praise, indeed. <3

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