Alexa Patrick


Julia Bethan

On Disappearing

Alexa Patrick

the men
crowd corners,
gather like
a constant
spring, thawing
what tried
to take them.

They clap
their hands
to Go-go,
and embers
from their palms
to emphasize
the point,
the choir
for when one
don’t show up,
the matches
of their fingers
lighting memories
like loosies.


And this is what I excavate in the minute it takes to walk by
I, still smelling like the small town I came from, staring
the way my mother taught me not to, but they all uncles’
sweat and father’s shoulders;

Certainly, their mamas worked alongside their mamas
Certainly, I’ve sat next to their sons on the train
Certainly, they are my cousins kissing teeth at falling buildings
pouring liquor for the fallen people, buried only to grow
into our own faces

My people stubborn; die soon and become heirlooms,
are legacies screaming like streetlights, tell you to go home
the same way they tell you to come here

And there:

salt water, summer tar, slow dance,
bible verse, birthmark, bad temper
flat tire, flat line, funeral feast;
Sunflowers opening wide like a fire

Alexa Patrick is a singer and poet from Connecticut. She holds fellowships from Cave Canem, Obsidian, and The Watering Hole. Alexa was the 2019 Head Coach of the D.C. Youth Slam Team, and has held teaching positions through Split This Rock, The University of the District of Columbia, and the Center for Creative Youth at Wesleyan University. Alexa has coached the slam teams of American University and George Washington University for the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational. She is an open mic host at Busboys and Poets, and has performed at The Schomburg Center and the Kennedy Center. You may find Alexa’s work in publications including The Quarry, ArLiJo, CRWN Magazine, and The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic. Her debut collection Remedies for Disappearing will be published by Haymarket Books in 2023.