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.


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.