Pop Quiz with Ninth-Inning Sweats

Alejandro Lucero
| poetry


When did you last hug your mother?
A. Before she spoke and I yelled. The word spun from my mouth
+++like a screwball.
B. When the stitches of the word bitch came loose in her glove.
C. After the leather softened.
D. We didn’t hug.


A. Beneath contrails too high for her cut straw to reach.
B. Above the bottle cap that got pressed into my left shoe.
C. At the edge of Geneva Park where we once played catch.
D. All of the above.


What were her eyes?
A. Fossils.
B. A person in the street.
C. Two Percocets lost under the couch.
D. Short comas.


And her tongue?
A. Still veined, curled like a monstera leaf.
B. Dry as her toothbrush.
C. Twitching behind her laced lips.
D. Missing in photographs.


How would she finish this sentence? Hello, __.
A. boy biting the hair from his knuckles
B. answer me
C. I’m your mother
D. I’m back


How long was her hair?
A. Her ears shivered.
B. There were knots; they could snap the teeth from a comb.
C. It woke me up once.
D. It wasn’t there.


What was her job?
A. A botched c-section and bloody hospital sheets.
B. The leading role of 9-1-1 calls.
C. Both A. and B.
D. Controlling the steep pitch of a heart monitor.


Do you miss her?
A. thing she once told me was to always
B. the same person I would like to
C. first thing in the morning and to never force an ending.
D. On most days.

Alejandro Lucero is a writer from Sapello, NM, by way of Denver. He serves as an assistant editor for Copper Nickel. Winner of the 2021 Iris N. Spencer Poetry Award and a semifinalist for the 2021 Adroit Prize for Poetry, his most recent work is forthcoming in The Offing, The Pinch, and Salt Hill, where he was a finalist for the Philip Booth Prize, judged by Matt Rasmussen.

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