The 25 cent Masseuse

I still remember the skin that stretched
across my mother’s sinuses. Alexa Doran

This tells us something
about the things we hate.

My mother’s nose was knobby and delicate
at once. I stood over her
and massaged the bridge of her
nose for a quarter. I felt naked as I kneaded
her and kneaded her.

Why concern ourselves with my mother’s glands?
Why fixate on the blissless grip of an 8-year-old girl?

I could focus on the eyelet lace across our couch
or the snow that lay its blank body beside the bay
window. I could cast about for my father’s mouth,
mutter my millionth save me.

But the brain is a dirty thing
and it knows what I know

so let her surface, awful and center
as she is — we will always know her
tenderness. We will go away and spend

forever knowing the eggshell arch of her nose
rose high and soft, your newborn’s breath, and everything else

collapsed into valleys,

the station wagon saturated with crumbs,
the hours connected to the cordless, the screen
door and cherry smoke that cling in her wake.


The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review was founded in 2010 as an online and print literary and arts journal. We take our title from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and include the full archives of our predecessor Moon Milk Review. Our aesthetic is eclectic, literary mainstream to experimental. We appreciate fusion forms including magical realist, surrealist, meta- realist and realist works with an offbeat spin. We value character-focused storytelling and language and welcome both edge and mainstream with punch aesthetics. We like humor that explores the gritty realities of world and human experiences. Our issues include original content from both emerging and established writers, poets, artists and comedians such as authors, Rick Moody, Cris Mazza, Steve Almond, Stephen Dixon, poets, Moira Egan and David Wagoner and actor/comedian, Zach Galifianakis.

Alexa Doran on Twitter
Alexa Doran
Alexa Doran is the author of the chapbook Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby (Bottlecap Press 2019), and is currently a PhD candidate at Florida State University. Her series of poems about the women of Dada, “The Octopus Breath on Her Neck,” was recently released as part of Oxidant/Engine’s BoxSet Series Vol 2. You can also look for work from Doran in recent or upcoming issues of Glass, Mud Season Review, Conduit, and New Delta Review, among others. For a full list of her publications, awards, and interviews please visit her website at