Alexander Perez

“afterlife: one year” by Alexander Perez

afterlife: first year

for my mother


teach me names for
things i never knew:
the word you use for
freedom from
your body or
unafraid to
die and
i’d like to
know what to
call the place where
god has gotten lost

i’m still struggling with
names for
old things i know too well
all we were afraid to
say out loud as if
about the relatives with
faces like ours snipped from
family photographs

maybe we could
review the first
words you taught
me words I grasp only

fall goodbye
sharp nightmare

did you know they
would be the formula
for adulthood
i’d need to
grow stronger

then one day make
up a poem i’d write to
you about
you’d never hear?

give them like
a final letter to
be opened after
you’d gone?

what’s been said of
what you did has
been forgotten

no one ever found
the right way to
say it because
no one figured
out what
you meant by
doing it

it’s better for
some things to
remain mysterious like
the names i learned for
things you told me to not
write down


do you even recognize
my voice? it must not sound
the same since i undid
the knots: tough – umbilical.
why i resorted to incisors
careful not to cut the cord. the channel
between here and there (to rebirth)
must be a tight squeeze too
with the aftermath still clinging to you. deathbed
hands won’t let go or did they have to cut you
out like i was cut
out of you? future,
full of scars. a malignant orchid
rooted inside me / petals silk
as secrecy / outlined in black like his
lips he told me not to kiss / curled into
a question having curious grip / strength
of creeping vines. fertilities slip
out – placental. out of my control
since the unravelling. since
you flowed. unlearning how to breathe.
to the canal. to her amniotic
(pre)eternal (pre)existing sea.


time’s getting fatter
here & babies suckle
did you ever start to
eat again?
i filled your box
with roses. pitch black
makes us hungry, wild
for yellows, reds, or white. craving
meat, i go to the butcher & ask for fresh
heart. so light,
six girls rested
you on their shoulders, burdensome
as ribbons in their curly hair.
at the soup-line / for the dead / everyone
is served / a soul / in bowls / a slice of life /
then turned out / on the street.
my hands get stronger from pulling weeds.
graveyards keep you fit, a perfect shape.
i’m shedding more in pounds, less in tears.
the doctor wants me to live
a long, happy life. not if
i have to give up
anything else
i love.


in the places i miss you
you’ve never been and
now you’re too far away ever to
reach them to
be here with me and
when i could have shown you these places they
were inaccessible to
me at the time because
some i hadn’t finished constructing or
some i’d yet to
discover so
you missed the places i miss you and
i wish i could describe these places to
you but
there is nothing in
them that
makes them special except
love which makes them indescribable then
it occurs to me that
you probably missed me too in
places you constructed or
discovered that i was too far away from when
you wanted to show them to
me when
we could have been together in
these places where
we wouldn’t have missed each other so much perhaps
they are like places i miss you now and
wouldn’t it be funny if
they were somehow the very same places you might be missing me right at this
moment but
we just keep missing each other


Alexander Perez began writing and publishing poetry in 2022 at age forty-eight and is a member of the Hudson Valley Writers Guild. Alexander currently lives in Schenectady, New York with his partner James. Read more of Alexander’s poetry at

1 thought on ““afterlife: one year” by Alexander Perez”

Comments are closed.