when I see I’ve overwatered it again, I jab
the turkey baster into the rust-colored runoff
before the water spills over,
onto the hardwood floor.

in our mid-town apartment,
the harsh light sears the spiky leaves.

it reminds me of summer,
when you left me here on Beachwood Dr.
and I shot Demerol
my rust-colored blood backing up in the syringe,
the same pierce of yellow light,
the sharp spike breaking my skin.

I remember what you said about overkill,
how I could love a thing to death.

my jaundiced face mirrored
the ailing yellow of the dracaena’s tired leaves,
the green of it, peaked. off-color.
my sad visage the hue of drowning,
the flood of the Demerol too much like

the dracaena hides a stain
on the hardwood floor in the
shape of a man. A murky, splayed patch
between the closet and the bed.

since you disappeared, some nights
I lie down on that stain,
my body mimicking the way I’d lie
on top of you, arms and legs akimbo.
I imagine you, oozing out
onto the hardwood, a mess.

the landlord, under duress admitted
that a dead man had lain there
till long past rigor, seeping fluids
like an overwatered plant
till he and the floor had organically
merged into one.

Alexis Rhone Fancher
An earlier version published in Rattle, Tribute To L.A. Poets, June, 2016

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Poet and photographer ALEXIS RHONE FANCHER has work published in over 200 literary magazines, journals, and anthologies, including Best American Poetry, Rattle, Hobart, Verse Daily, The MacGuffin, Plume, Duende, Tinderbox, Diode, Nashville Review, Rust + Moth, Nasty Women Poets, Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond, among others. Her photographs have been published worldwide, including the cover of Witness and Pithead Chapel, and a five-page spread in River Styx. Her books include: How I Lost My Virginity to Michael Cohen & other heart stab poems, Enter Here, and the autobiographical, Junkie Wife. Her chapbook, State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies was released in 2015, and its companion, The Dead Kid Poems, published in May, 2019. EROTIC, a volume of her new and selected erotica, will be published in 2020 by New York Quarterly. A nominee of multiple Pushcart Prize, Best Small Fictions, Best Micro-fiction, and Best of the Net awards, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly. She and her husband live 20 miles outside of Los Angeles, in a small beach community overlooking the Pacific Ocean. They have an extraordinary view.

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