Ivy Alvarez


Lasting twenty-
five to thirty seconds, I recount
what I was able to observe.

Note after
decapitation: eyelids
and lips of guillotined man
work in irregularly rhythmic
contractions for five or
six seconds (as if still hungry?
or something to say?)
                                 A strong, sharp
voice (sometimes causes ladies to swoon
(note to self: must not overuse)):
"Languille!" Languille's eyes
fix on mine;
the pupils focus themselves
(what do they see
(do they see me?)).
                                 Close again,
the head takes on
                                 (that grey hue).
Eyelids lift
(where is the heart in this),
undeniably living eyes
fix on mine
more penetration
than the first. Eyelids
lift up (smooth as a skirt).
                                              A further
closing of eyelids, less complete.
I attempt a third
nothing further and eyes
take on that glazed look
of the dead.

Spasmodic movements
cease. Face relaxes, lids half
close on eyeballs,
white conjunctiva
visible, exactly as in
the dying, whom we
see in our profession,
or those just dead.

Ivy Alvarez

Ivy Alvarez is the author of Mortal. In 2006, she received a grant from the Australia Council for the Arts to write poems for her second poetry manuscript. Her poetry appears in journals and anthologies worldwide and online, including The First Hay(na)ku Anthology, Famous Reporter and Magma. She recently edited A Slice of Cherry Pie, a poetry chapbook anthology inspired by David Lynch's Twin Peaks.