In this country it has found
the loophole in the system
and makes a home in it.
And when it breaks down
I tinker the spark plugs until
it is fixed. Use a can of petroleum
is why my poem smells of petroleum.
My poem wants dollars
because it goes to Panama,
buys things there to ship back.
It needs dollars for that.
I bought my poem a refrigerator
and paid the shipping
because you can’t get one like that
here. I feel terrible, I like the poem
the way it is, with all
of its complexity. All soap
is Dial soap. All napkins white.
Everything becomes accessible:
Neruda and Lorca, spices, even tampons.
And that is how poetry travels,
not to see another country
but for necessities unattainable
in this embargoed world.
Alexis Ivy is a 2018 recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship in Poetry and the author of Romance with Small-Time Crooks (BlazeVOX [books], 2013), and Taking the Homeless Census (Saturnalia Books, 2020), which won the 2018 Saturnalia Editors Prize. Her poems have recently appeared in Saranac Review, Poet Lore, and Sugar House Review. She lives in her hometown, Boston.