Poems by Alex LeGrys



Round Wire-Rimmed Spectacles

He drinks out of tin camping mugs,
speckled with white so even when
he’s inside he reaches for
something beyond the room–
still trudging through the snow

he drives a gray car that
crawls up mountains yet
may hell freeze with his
fingers if salt eases its labor

he’s well acquainted with
the sandpipers, and he
too rushes in and retreats
and breaks the ocean’s
heart with his gentle teasing

he never lent me his
round, wire-rimmed spectacles
and still, they allowed me to
see I would never be good
enough for the ocean– leave
alone him.



There’s a bundle of string
but all the pieces are
too short for any
mending to be done–

and that’s the real
trouble, the
bachelor says
as he fills his
mug a quarter
of the way with
Earl Grey and
three quarters
with brandy

he takes a sip,
resisting a shiver

even the striking guitar solos
are sickening,
the beautiful paintings
make me feel defeated
before I even left
my flat

he paces around the table,
waving his arms and
spilling the
contents of the mug
onto his shirt,
but he doesn’t
have to worry about
a disapproving
nose any longer

the telephone rings,
he answers it reluctantly

wrong number
I’m afraid,
I’m no sweetheart
my darling,
good night

but that’s not the
in fact I’m not
the point– if I
succeeded that
needn’t have
been mentioned

well of course
it’s wrong,
he takes a larger
this is wrong too,
most everything is

he collapses
into his chair,
hurling the
cushion across
the room

maybe the voices
will disapprove
or shake with fear,
and even though
yours does as well,
you might have
won this battle

but what do I know
about anything?

he springs up again,
clears his throat–

all the considerations
have been scavenged
up so it’s time you
take the one you want
and with that, he
drained his mug,
and waltzed with
an imaginary girl
out the back door

after he left,
I found a note
he wrote me on
a gas station receipt
that read:

all we can give
them is a few
meager words–
so that’s
what we’ll do


A Disappointed Buddha

You don’t have a right
to that, the little old
man in the rocking chair
scoffs as he lights
his pipe

and he’s right I’m
sure, or at least the
closest thing there
is to being

then there’s the lot
of them,
gazing downwards
at the gravel, swaying
like anarchist pendulums

the devil told me
I can’t get into
hell because he
doesn’t like the
way I walk as much
as the girls with

but he promised
me a spot right outside
the gates,
and maybe if I was lucky
the gargoyle would have
me for tea

you’re a victim
of your fortune ,
that’s what
both of them
said, and one
handed me
Peter Singer’s
The Why and How
of Effective Altruism
the white ceiling
had voids among
voids, dancing
and bumping into
each other and
I saw everyone
after staring long

but then they
without bidding
me farewell,
because if they
did it would
only be out
of obligation

and so it
rolls on,
I couldn’t
even stand
the sound of
the collision

it’s almost tomorrow
and all the pretty women
won’t understand,
the sensible and plain
even less

I wanted to be
their dustpan,
their clean floors
but I just let myself
become their lint
they had given
up trying to rid of




It’s always our sort that
it happens to
he told me–
quite literally
nothing– what
happens I mean

he put his feet up on the
coffee table,
his oversized trousers
nearly touching the floor
and the worn leather
belt hardly fulfilling
its purpose

he had thin brown hair
just above his narrow
shoulders, and a beard
that always looked a bit
damp from his large
coffee cups

one day you can
live as I do
he said

your own place,
that’s our greatest
luxury you know,
maybe void of
windows, but
the air’s still
fresher when
it’s your very own,
breathing’s not
such a chore

we’re selfish
I said,
little children
pouting in corners

of course we are,
he agreed.
but we know it,
each privileged
thought blanketed
in dusty old disapproval

and the knots in our
hair never fully come out
I added

he finished the pot of
coffee to keep from
dozing off,
as he was even
when sleeping

you know,
we’ll never
be remembered,
our words
slide through
the cracks,
gone to waste,

might as well
have never
bothered, he

I nodded.


we would’ve painted
the sky to make it seem
less vacant–
but we couldn’t

we would’ve
built a spiral to
spin downwards
off somewhere
that wasn’t
so stale–
but we were no

we would’ve
brought a ladder
to climb up
to the treetops–
but we never even
had good balance

we never could trust
our fingers
or our very
own feet,
at least according
to the epiphany
I had after staring
too long at the
cement floor

I bid him farewell
and so he told me
to never
stare at a mirror
too long
for there
was always the
danger of sinking
hopelessly into
those large
empty brown eyes.

to anyone else
this would have
been an insult or
at the very
least, absurd.

yet I knew
what he meant

I staggered home
what a
grand brotherly
figure such a
person would be

and how silly
I would have d
looked if I
was seen
talking to the
swivel chair
in that abandoned


About the Author

Alex LeGrys is 18 years old and attends Bard College.  She has been previously published in The Telling Room, Better Than Starbucks, and Apricity Press.