top of page



Alessandra Lynch


excavation: the bone that has no marrow


Let it dry—let it dry in the ditch—

a roadside bone—innocuous.

Still, hard to reckon with.


            You don’t know the who of it, barely the what

            but once it belonged & longed & had stride.  Now it rises from the poke

            & takes your hand as though for a walk


through rain & it is alive again, a man, urging you on

to mr. anonymous

who coaxes & spends you & swings you by another name.  Who never gives his own.


How bloodless he is.  Sitting at the white table.  Handsome shirt.

And below: tight pants filled with nothing.  Undercover matador.

More bloodless than this bone you’ve found.

            Ask no more about bone.  Don’t breathe or swallow.  The stinging

belt, your buckled hip, the blade

            chucking your chin, drawn down your neck,

            angling toward the breast.


Don’t ask about the voice that snarled and nested in your ear.

You lived in hoax and hoax is fog.  No charm of finches to blast it clear.

His charm:    all harm—   


                                                and names?

His/yours.  Don’t ask.







In the bleeding berries    on the nettle-hill

where pond was a ruse for calm

I gave voice

to what deadened the field    what ended its green

said the word assault, prettier than r____.


Violets whitened.

The thing shrank from its essence.


The words took breath to say    this pushing air away

(as though to dislodge it from the skin to dislodge his breath from your face his voice

from your ear as though to remove space as though to accord you your own space)


Breath lost in one swift pull of winter.


After I said what I said    said the word

assault was prettier.  Assault was less

invasive.  R____ would mean admission and surrender.


The words took breath

(Hush, hush.  Come, forgiveness.)




It took seconds for him

to push me down then he was done—


I was supine.  Perpendicular, the tree. That night

we made a kind of staggering diagram in the parking lot.

How had he risen from me?  Jerked out, rolled


            Crude knuckles scuffed by fatigue and dust, the roots

of the tree inches from my face.  Had he gripped

my wrist, pressed a knife at my neck?


For decades I’ve walked in a daze.

            through insect-amputees who are not dead

but don’t have the gut or grip to shield their good

remaining legs. They’re scuttle-dry and yellow-gray

            as storm-gripped sky.

For decades I’ve walked

            in a daze through this day’s recitations.

Low crawl of red through leaves


I pulled myself up.  Parallel, the tree.  That night

we made a kind of shuddering frame for the air.

How had he gotten me down?  Had he seized

            my arm or waist….  I don’t remember the least.

frida says (a translation)


i will cut off all my hair and use each strand

as another bar of music     each bird an unbridled note


i want the dark birds     they’re more easily read

they can use my hair as nesting threads


you have said you won’t love me without

my woman power—what protects—my veil


i say: my burden—what strangles—dead tendrils

of pleasing     pleasing     appeasing


follicles which have no sheen or motion

i sit on my hellish yellow chair without my hair-shirt


in my man’s suit and small man’s shoes     my legs wide

like a man’s     smoke issuing from fingers


immaterial     green bird in my lap

-from DAYLILY CALLED IT A DANGEROUS MOMENT (Alice James Books, 2017) selected by Spring 2021 Guest Editor Cyrus Cassells. 

Alessandra Lynch is the author of four collections of poetry: Sails the Wind Left Behind (winner of the New York/New England Award from Alice James Books, 2002), It was a terrible cloud at twilight (winner of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Award, Pleaides/LSU Press, 2008), Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment (Alice James  Books, 2017) and Pretty Tripwire (Alice James Books, 2021).  She has received fellowships from The Corporation of Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony for the Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center, and she has been the recipient of a Barbara Deming Award and a Creative Renewal Fellowship for the Arts from the Indianapolis Council for the Arts. For Stream/Lines, an Indianapolis Waterways Project, Alessandra has served as one of the three poet/curators through Poets’ House. Currently, Alessandra teaches poetry in the undergraduate and graduate programs at Butler University.

admissionAlessandra Lynch
00:00 / 01:04
excavation: the bone that has no marrowAlessandra Lynch
00:00 / 01:43
frida says (a translation)Alessandra Lynch
00:00 / 01:12
bottom of page