Alec Hershman

Though Power Sheds a Polish, Don’t Dawdle with the Hawks

Slay a boy in the cowardly yard between him and your muzzle,
and he opens all the same, as if you’d spent him on a blade, his gape

emitting buzzards. So an ad hoc congress gathers in the branches,
and like slow, rabid animals we don’t know how to talk to, the tanks

arrive on ordinary days. Sour toxin. Cherry out of irritation
that the tree invents, and I can believe in a path without anger

between flee and a death. Gaslight, here, underwrites the clouds;
News anchors have clearly emptied their clips of emotion

before going on air. In the farce museum, a spruce has crossed
himself from the lineup. Wanton for love, celebrity and facsimile

meet. By standard encroachments, the canons swallow all our angels;
the mimeo-ed faces spread far, and wide, and felt. At what point

can sympathy make space for the dead? Wishing only to be gentle,
I allowed a cold reading of the suicides, like colleagues folding

summary to task. I recognized me in their ends as neither threat,
nor compromiseā€”nor promise.





Alec Hershman lives in St. Louis where he teaches literature and psychology to fashion and interior design students. He has received awards from The Kimmel-Harding-Nelson Center for the Arts, The Jentel Foundation, The St. Louis Regional Arts Commission, and The Institute for Sustainable Living, Art, and Natural Design. You can find links to his work at

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