© 2017 by Kelli Allen

Creatures

Becoming a Woman of the Brook, Shade, and Moss

What if my body fell through bliss,

caught its last small toe on some hook

in descent? How, then, will we name

whatever is left, is aswirl, skull and clavicle

force-sculpted, at last, having roughly

fallen together to rest (wait) at the bottom

of my well, and certainly yours?

You tell me it's easy to pretend Ivan

will make room on his flaming bird's back,

when we are ready to be lifted, however restlessly,

away from woods, sea, maybe our bed suddenly

too small, knotted. You promise the feather's heat

will be worth the untying, the recognition

of this loss exchanged for riding away,

Yaga's hut distant, withering. Despite warnings,

there are only three ways to bury shame.

Before long we're asleep, mats spread over pebbles,

pillows wilted, and the beetle arrives with our keys

tucked in mandibles, tusks. The next day might

not come and no fortune hunter can reclaim

what was lost in the tucking in, folding under,

of these blankets too cool under our chins. We

will hear his wings too late and the fruit just drops,

jeweled carnage into the stream.

Folding the Invitation to Your Wedding

There is a plow waiting near my broken flashlight. Both promise a variation of warmth, perhaps warmth through what I can expect to carry by pushing under, giving root, perhaps by some illumination not yet anchored enough for closeness here, this page asking for response, for a bond of sorts. What can I ask of you? You, who lets a foot stay tucked under warm sand, hands in pockets, coarse hair falling over one cheek or the other? The curve of you a fleshy question mark near such open waters.

 

Why this snuggle into writing when shown the useless tool and the cylinder all broken plastic and glass? Objects meant to signify desire for reciprocity become, instead, talismans for clumsy loss, for wanting more, always more, than I am ready to let bare in the dirt. It's pale, when it touches my skin, this god-hand of distance, this god-touch of absence.​​​

 

Words for Reach, Lines for Falling

 

Somehow, without sliding completely

back down the dune, I knew I missed​

 

my moment. The realization, sharp

as deep pockets of tingle-pain in my molars,

 

overcame me completely. You had fallen,

rather rolled a backward soft smoosh

 

before I could give you my fingers

to serve as five stained ropes—

 

connecting me to you to the vista, small

and mild, and nothing different

 

from the other views from mounds

all sand and occasionally wind.

 

It was a leap to expect

being here might mark a change

 

between a blush under the bridal veil

and the one caught a month ago

 

when we said forgive, yes, and time will,

yes, and now here. I am sorry

 

for these shoes, for my mercurial shift.

Now I see more of the water

 

and am on top of the roundness

while you, whom I quicken to love,

slide, little grains, pink mica in your hair.

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