Three Poems by Alec Hershman


To The Sky His Druzy Forehead
The crevice lip to cheek makes
soft as chalk.
.                       The emergency
isn’t mine I step back from—
the neighbor taken by police
from his house like hair
from a chin.
.                       What poison
had he manufactured for
his wallows, the rumored wife
not seen for weeks? Which one,
knowing this, was gentle
and tipped his head to put him
in the car?
.                       Twenty-four years
of weather visits our awareness
with nothing but the clear, globed roe
of words unpassed
.                              —a silent music,
as between two spoons that never touch.
By some point it seems too quickly
we replace the people in our days;
the strangers all are vapors
and on dark occasions, rhyme.


Solitude More Than Any Other Style Keeps the Time Exactly
An owl moves its navy eraser
in a world of its own purpose.
There’s a second horizon
where the stars start
to appear. That there should be something
to eat, and that the meteor of ambition
is beyond me are just hunches,
and often belated, lighting my face
with a fool’s glow of hindsight:
she must have given herself
to the chewing of the waves as as
to a suitor known the minutes
to a kiss. Solitude, more than any other style
of travel, keeps the time exactly—is paid
in prey for its parabolic swoop. I step solid
in the knowledge of the slippage
at my back : turn to look : the train’s
one headlight seems to bring
the tunnel with it—sidereal, meek,
and keeping pace. It pulls beside me
for a cosmic minute, then beside me for its past.


The difference between meaning biscuits
and well-meaning biscuits is inestimable

insofar as four letters and a hyphen find
a socket as where a doorknob at my back

turns pushy and brassy and attaches
and we know it exactly—

one is gnostic and tagged by accident
while the other disappears, neither true

nor untrue, a space between me and a hole-
in-the-wall in which the leaning balances.


About the Poet
Alec Hershman lives in Michigan. He has received awards from the Kimmel-Harding-Nelson Center for the Arts, The Jentel Foundation, Playa, and The Institute for Sustainable Living, Art, and Natural Design. More of his work appears in recent issues of Denver Quarterly, Cimarron Review, Mantis, Western Humanities Review, Cleaver Magazine, and elsewhere. You can learn more at