Alexander the Great - Boris Cookson

1: A Morning Walk

Winter rests its flat palms
On either side of my face
Each finger conducting frost

Your dark shock
Of wiry black hair
Rests on top of a body
Two hands taller than me
You are still short enough to be considered
My brother

Power lines stretch
Crawling gently over
Mile high wooden posts
Sagging in rest
Stirring for the air
You said They hid thieves up there.

Hedges shoot their
Ambitious green growth
Arching over the footpath
You pull it taut
Ripping each leaf from it
In one playful motion

Yellow lines on the tarmac
Dull in the sun’s
Lazy gaze
Wait for headlights
From a speeding night car
To bring out their colour

Ahead of us to the right
On the other side of the road
Your mother
Is jogging
A pair of white trainers
Clapping against the ground

My hand grazes against
A brown fence
Unfinished edges
Held in gaps
Furry splinters
To each tiny member

The world
Was made
Of fingers
Once locked
In a grip
That meant
I was safe

You turn and cross the road without me

2: At The Dock

The straight wooden boards
Rest on the back of mile high
Feet press
Into the wet planks
Hold me in place
I feel the sway
Dock dances with the swell


My body
Bends over itself
Collapses into the water
Crooked laugh
Propels me
My face breaks the surface
Eyes shut
Eyes open
Lips break
Oxygen pulls
The ocean in through the gap
Draining the harbour
Lungs shrivel
Ball up
Swallowing themselves
My body becomes one giant contraction
Gnawing against the rocks
Flop like a fish

I cough up the meaning of family
It tastes like salt

3: Nose Bleed on my Eighth Birthday

Played with his little brother’s
Arse like a whore
Not sure if he didn’t enjoy it
Though he might not have
Understood the situation
He understood the sensation
Warm and radiating outwards
And upwards

A blanket
That wrapped the front of the brain
In a numbness born of pleasure

Hermit settles back into the shell
Pink and promising
A sheet of foam holding the world
Pressing inwards

Fingernail scraping
Down the back of a hairless leg
To the callused and cracked pads
Of intrepid feet

White hands explore everywhere

I am not sure if
The tiny prick
Dangling innocently
Uncovered by any growth of hair
Was left untouched

All I know is it didn’t make a fucking difference

My brother would never
Do me wrong

Contributor's Note

Boris Cookson is a poet living in Waikato.


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