What We Become

Alec Hershman


Think-meat pulled from the freezer,
day after day to defrost. Because of the fingers
that are prone to tweezers, I’d been molting,
been bending to look at rocks—felt I had to know
the ages of each of them. The work was slow
and my faith blithe, like a squirrel’s. The leaves
themselves involved a kind of chewing, which
they promoted and the sound was higher
for their having curled. What playing mummy
taught me: the mouth feels a little less alive
when packed with dry quinoa. In the country
from which the grain is taken, a woman visiting
was entered by a fly, and a family of maggots
pitched a bivouac in her ear. How frantic
she must have grown from the incessant mash.
How snow-shed and wild must have been
her thoughts at the drum-end of a tunnel,
yellower than Siberia, where the little family
slept—eight dreams within the dream—
“I heard them even in my sleep!” she said.
“That’s how I knew something needed to change.”




Alec Hershman is the author of Permanent and Wonderful Storage (Seven Kitchens Press, 2019), winner of the Robin Becker Chapbook Prize and The Egg Goes Under (Seven Kitchens Press, 2017). He has received awards from the KHN Center for the Arts, The Jentel Foundation, Playa, The Virginia Creative Center for the Arts, and The Institute for Sustainable Living, Art, and Natural Design. He lives in Michigan where he teaches writing and literature to college students. You can learn more at alechershmanpoetry.com.