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Sample Poems by Allison Wilkins

Wakes to Charm Vowels

Mornings are the worst,
muscles sore from sleep

and stiffness, eyes crusty,
hair knotted, fan clunking off

rhythm on low speed.
The sheets are warm

as peach skin and gas logs.
But the atmosphere is crisp

and she rises unwillingly,
cracks her back with a twist,

pulls her knees to her chest,
fights the urge to curl

into a rocking ball.
Her mouth, vowel-moist,

as her head inventories
the clock's slow tone.

Chases Crickets

Everyone she's ever

is chirping, wings open,
acoustical sails

loud and quick in the heat.
The kindergarten one

gives her chicken pox
while sharing chocolate milk.

The middle school one
holds her hand during lunch,

draws portraits in charcoal,
pastels, and ink.

The high school one
buys beer and fruity booze,

her car door first.

The college one
screams songs on stage,

feeds her French fries
and gravy.

The husband one
builds garden fences,

mows the grass
in an argyle pattern.

She's always the one
following some distant rubbing

of forewings, listening
for her own call.

Thinks She Knows

Bodies are just bodies:
organs, blood, and juice.

Collections of arms and legs
stitched with tendons and sinews.

Bodies spontaneously combust.
Her body is that kind of thing.

Tangible. Something
he used to touch. A vessel. A utensil.

Enclosure. Fetter. Something he used to want.

A Roman vase. An ornament.
Stuffed in a box. Cobwebbed.

Now her body makes his
infected, inflamed.

Dyspeptic, carcinogenic, cancerous.
She knows she should be quarantined.

Asks the Scarecrow Twenty Questions

Do you mind the dead crows upside down around your head?
Can you fire a gun if you need to?
Are you the bogeyman?
Do you like the color green?
Would you prefer a pumpkin head or a burlap face?
Do you eat wheat or are you gluten-free?
What do you think about dialect?
Do you play nicely with others?
Do you like dark chocolate?
Do you mind when dogs pee?
Does it get hot in May?
How does the rain feel at night?
Do you get lonely in the fields?
Do you know Kuebiko, the one who knows
everything about the world?
Where are your thumbs?
How do sunflowers make you feel?
When do you sleep?
Do you think in terms of binaries?
Do you really have straw for brains?
What would you do if you heard her scream?


She wants one more episode of blood coagulating in her cup.
She wants to shoot sparks out of her fingertips.
She wants to shatter like glass.
She wants to cock her head, tilt to him, unnerve him.
She wants to slide her hand between flesh and fabric.
She wants to look at him and see.
She wants what she cannot know.