Alec Hershman

In a Minute

For whose benefit was the pantomime
of choosing jewelry? In which gift-shop
could we pay to have a fossil of our likeness
stamped? Out of the fabric of buntings,

from the tarmac path, was the world
in which the killing was made,
—and yet to happen.
Over the near hill, town, and scrapyard,
and further hills seemed equally likely.

Had it all the garb and photographs I owned,
I’d call this box a trunk. But it is not a trunk;
it is a magician’s box, an approximate coffin
with a black hole for the neck as for a cork:

ready for a trick, a warm June presses me
to hat-blackness, grin-borne Santa Anas
up my sleeves. The grass in the background
is perfectly unmoving, like a shattered clock
my mother traverses. Mourning something.

In a Mouth

I was born with a typo, from the pressure
of initial kindness, and dizzy from a skunk.
Some overzealous merchant showed me to
the only hole, though I had no need of leaders,
knew the way. Probably my face got bent upon
the poetry, or changed via via other pressures
where I filled each pith-rich cartridge. Then at
such times was my please-no-thanks but reflex
in the service bearing. Like cheese-cloth, wit
conspires and disintegrates. It’s best to make
friends in the water, instead of water out of friends—
as when an olive turns to me, inviting and in brine
to show me where it’s been availed: pimentoed
by the to of token. All this private robbery thus
falters on announcement. The megaphone’s
a dunce-cap; the helicopter lands with a limp.
Crass minerals are set to paste no sooner than
a lady says I do. You are not your own,
words, you are not your own.

Alec Hershman lives in Michigan where he works for Japanese Family Services. More of his poems appear in recent issues of Western Humanities Review, Wisconsin Review, 2 Bridges Review, Crab Creek Review, and elsewhere. You can learn more at
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.