Three Poems by Kelli Allen

Allen

Read More: A brief interview with Kelli Allen

If you sleep, no one will die

Don’t worry about it. Make a smaller boat, not
a larger one. How far does the bottom
arch, bowed long and tight, need to reach
before both your hands cup the vessel’s
side and we take to the current together?

Bees hide only two things in the honeycomb:
The first queen’s desire to flee, amber packed
and buried, and the flames started, but blown
almost out when your breath came too close.

I am lonely, too, but only because you chased
me from swift sand into Monet’s bleak hut. Tell me
you might not leave in the morning
and neither of us will complain one time
about your father or mine or temporary descent.

What have you packed into that case shaped
like your neck at night, creased over silk, inadequately
furred? Show me what happens when pockets turn belly
out and we defy everything that does not make us jump
up and gobble the wounded, refuse again, to lie down.

 

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The price is the pearl you buried

It is not primitive to lick
lips when the foxes catch
a tail in their teeth. I have
stapled pages together so you, […]


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Sweet water then, darling

Rowanberries painted against your wrist means
Open. Turning the ash-shrub blooms to face
your own chest reminds wet paper to unfold […]


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Kelli Allen’s work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies in the US and internationally. She is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee and has won awards for her poetry, prose, and scholarly work. She served as Managing Editor of Natural Bridge, is the current Poetry Editor for The Lindenwood Review, is an editor for River Styx, and holds an MFA from the University of Missouri St. Louis. She is the director of the River Styx Hungry Young Poets Series and founded the Graduate Writers Reading Series for UMSL. She is currently a Professor of Humanities and Creative Writing at Lindenwood University and teaches for The Pierre Laclede Honors College at UMSL. Her chapbook, Some Animals, won the 2016 Etchings Press Prize. Her chapbook, How We Disappear, won the 2016 Damfino Press chapbook award. Her newest full-length will be released from C&R Press January, 2017. Her full-length poetry collection, Otherwise, Soft White Ash, arrived from John Gosslee Books in 2012 and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. www.kelli-allen.com

Read More: A brief interview with Kelli Allen