“Red Sink” by Lexi Noga

The deep red sink in the kitchen is clogged

again, choking on leftovers or a

forgotten spoon. The garbage disposal

sputters- a stalled engine during winter

in New England. The blades hum, rotating 

and hesitating, rotating and hes-

like a windmill on a still August day

attempting to grind wheat into snowflakes.

The honeycomb blades turn slowly, then stop–

motionless, patiently waiting like a

childless pinwheel for a rare gust of wind.  


“Portland Head Lighthouse”

My grandfather makes blueberry pancakes and black coffee,

then tells us to hurry.


We scramble, put on wet bathing suits, forget sunblock, and

 hop into his pick-up.


He grips the handle like a vice, wincing when his metal

hips scrape, but he tells us


nothing, and hums Patsy Cline as he drives to Casco Bay

to show us the lighthouse,


because he does not remember going the year before.

He does not remember


My grandmother’s heart-shaped face or the whole afternoons spent

searching for sand dollars


along the coast of Delray Beach. Or their first December

without snow or thick boots.


And he does not remember the night she hushed their children,

told them to pack it all


and left the silverware and a pair of sandy flip-flops.

At the bay, he admires


the rocky shore with washed-up crab legs, fragments of seashells,

clams broken open and


the lighthouse, white and worn by centuries of raging storms,

like it was the first time.



The passenger seat of the Ford still has deep

imprints left by Al’s back and thighs that remind

my father of the raw December morning

his heart stopped, and its last beat ricocheted off

the clear ice lining the driveway and echoed

like the clang of a church bell, when the driver

didn’t turn on the lights or howling sirens.

That night, my father drove home alone. His wet,

heavy sleeves dangled around his forearm when

he dug his nails into the wheel and begged God

for some sign. But, when the coal-black sky offered

no consolation, he shut off the engine

and listened to the creek’s currents roll downhill,

a distant, uncanny rhythm. Or heartbeat. 


 “Jeanie’s Advice”

My father, tasked with navigating narrow backroads

and swerving to avoid the deep and shapeless

potholes scattered across the pavement

like stains of ink on a Rorschach test,

drove cautiously to make sure my mother stayed

asleep. At stop signs, he watched her belly,

swollen like a ripe honeydew, rise, and fall.

When she tossed and twisted, her T-shirt rode up

revealing the lizard tattoo that had grown

twice its size in a matter of months.


When they pulled into his mother’s driveway,

she opened the screen door and waited.

Her house, with worn wooden panels,

and plaid curtains smelled of sandalwood incense, 

and had not changed in over a decade.

Jeanie sat at the kitchen table,

and offered advice my mother never asked for;

honey can cure any sickness, a spoonful

of whiskey puts children right to sleep, and that

trying is enough.


Jeanie told her she had her first son at seventeen

and named him David William,

my father’s name; a son she gave up.

Her boyfriend left and drove his motorcycle

to New Orleans, or Kansas City– somewhere else.

Somewhere far enough that the clatter of

a baby’s rattle would be only a faint, distant echo.

She had no choice. This was before women had a choice.


But it was a secret my mother could not bear to keep,

and my father mourned the lost boy who shared his name.



Biographical Note: Alexis Noga is a poet and undergraduate creative writing student at Denison University. Her work has been featured in Blue Marble Review, and Exile Magazine.