By Alexander Perez

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Mentions of gore, abusive relationships

he will leave if i can
gather all my blood 
off the floor. but do not 
leave a drop he says. 
bottle flies swarm from 
out of dark corners. 
cockroaches drink 
at the pool of blood. 
city light trespasses
through the curtainless 
kitchen window 
spotlighting this domestic 
tableau. once i saw 
the face of an innocent. 
now he grins like a mad, 
murderous child. 
each night, 
he holds me tight 
from behind. what a 
loving gesture. aroused 
by his death-embrace. 
i do not breathe
until i know he sleeps.
the crystal vase held 
wildflowers – goldenrod, 
queen anne’s lace, 
black eyed susan – i picked 
from a vacant lot.
now they crown a 
leaking skull.
i am a queen deposed.
when i turn, crystal teeth 
bite. i make it to my
feet. i look down at
the blood angel. i beg,
drink, roaches, drink.
the flies take care not
to stick. if i were
a fly, i would not be
stuck either. i pull 
a shard out of my 
scalp slowly. a loose tooth. 
under the sink there
is a mop. stained red.
how much time does it 
take to destroy evidence?
how much scrubbing until
all traces of myself are gone?

Alexander Perez (he/him/his) began writing poetry in 2022 at age forty-eight. Since then he has published in several journals and has a chapbook forthcoming from Finishing Line Press entitled Immortal Jellyfish. He shares his life with a loving and supportive partner in upstate New York. For more, feel free to visit

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