the-sleeping-gypsy-1897-jpglarge
If I were a poem
by Alex Simand

If I were an animal,
I would have large teeth, the goofy kind
shadowing my lower lip like window shades,
a perpetual joke hovering on my lips,
all upturned belly and flat ears,
bald but for a few tufts of unlikely fur
I rub on couch cushions and the legs
of your friends or coffee tables.

If I were a book,
I would lack denouement, forever stacking
pages to an unfinished manuscript—
you’ll forget why you’re reading,
why so many adjectives beat you
about the face like a series of butterflies
which you swat with concrete nouns,
still, you can’t put me down.

If I were a song,
I’d be sung entirely in falsetto,
accompanied by one drum, one sitar,
and three beautiful women without race—
it would be a song about battles and hugs
and driving across cornfields
and the feeling you get when someone
touches your hand across the center console.

If I were a poem,
I’d be a poem that wonders what if,
scurrying into obscure corners of supposition,
open-mouthed voyeur who looks through pinholes
of possibility plugged as quickly as they open—
I’d float into the multiverse, untethered
from the cracked earth and all its pain
I’d forget to come back.

IMAGE: “The Sleeping Gypsy” by Henri Rousseau (1897).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The prompt of “if I…” seems to lend itself to the subjunctive poem. The maybes, the what ifs, the comparative, which is exactly what I think poetry should do—expand the world and show us what it might be in a parallel universe. And so I wrote this poem under this premise, wondering out loud what my body would look like, what the human body would look like, in its many cosmic forms. There are so many of us in the multiverse. This is me, taking a peek via self-constructed pinholes.

simand

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Alex Simand
makes his living as an engineer, but will sometimes muster the courage to call himself a writer. Alex holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. He lives in San Francisco, hails from Toronto, and probably talks about poutine too much. Alex has worked on Lunch Ticket for the past two issues in various roles, including copyeditor, CNF editor, and, most recently, blog editor. His work has appeared in Angel City Review, Ash & Bones, Ultraviolet Tribe, Drunk Monkeys, Mudseason Review, and Red Fez, among others. He has been nominated for several Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net Award. Alex writes good essays, bad poems, and vice-versa.