Watching a documentary on Prohibition on mute


A barrel the shovel forced open. All gold
poured out its head, the photo’s pilfered.
All glare’s been corked. The sky looks like

many men in grainy overalls,
mustached against a fence post,
the mound of horizon left to move.

We can almost hear
in the eyes of the boy on his mother’s lap
a train horn coming under the hazeling,

soon-rain sky. In his grey mouth, too,
trying to axe a grin before dumping it
down the sewer grate of the throat.


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Alex Chertok has work published or forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review, Willow Springs, Literary Imagination, 32 Poems, The Journal, and Hayden’s Ferry Review, among others. He was awarded a fellowship to the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and has recently completed his MFA degree at Cornell University, where he was also a Lecturer.