Kelli Allen’s work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies in the US and internationally. She has served as Poetry Editor for The Lindenwood Review and she directs River Styx’s Hungry Young Poets Series. She is currently a visiting professor of English Literature at Northeast Normal University in Changchun, China.
She is the recipient of the 2018 Magpie Award for Poetry. Her chapbook, Some Animals, won the 2016 Etchings Press Prize. Her chapbook, How We Disappear, won the 2016 Damfino Press award. Her full-length poetry collection, Otherwise, Soft White Ash, arrived from John Gosslee Books (2012) and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Her collection, Imagine Not Drowning, was released by C&R Press in January 2017. Allen’s new collection, Banjo’s Inside Coyote, will arrive from C&R Press March, 2019. A poem from the new collection is featured below. Kelli's website is: www.kelli-allen.com
The tortoise shell maps every star
No bull knows the thickness of its own rough horn. Some
blue jays steal only the scarecrow’s left foot, and like us,
he is left leaning too far against husks. There is a war
in the attic. Hounds’ jaws lining baseboards,
silk windless in every corner, hemming
shut what we leave open each winter.
Disregard bundled egrets. We know better
than to trust feathers or beaks in tessellation.
The zodiac is a tablature you pocket for storms
at sea. When two calves are archboard painted,
the closest shore will never be to the east.
I have flown the absentee pennant, not noticing
moth appetites until both sun and setting moon
cooed pinpricked lights across unfurled backstays.
Barley and snakeroot in the same barrel means
jealousy, indicates reluctant shepherds will gather
both at dusk and in the softer curl of virgin morning.
Let’s not go on pretending that disquietude is anything
chaste. There are miles urged open past this undertow
and we swim steady, siphoning wind, aerialists in the salt.