Allison Blevins: Three Poems
Selected by Alexis Rhone Fancher, Poetry Editor
A Poem for When You Ask What’s Wrong
Think of spring days—weather radio jolts you— lemon poppy seed muffins, dishes, towels and whites.
By evening, grass still dry, sun slats through drooping
white pouches in gray-blue clouds and backyard greened limbs,
neighborhood children bike sidewalks, adults nod and wave.
We all know what roiling darkness passes just north of our stolen
evening, our cranberry and vodka, curb-scraped knees and chiggered ankles. Think of my walking like this—
my steady step today as burgled. Imagine each morning I must open my night-sleep closed wounds, choose between a spoon or scalpel.
Which would you prefer for the job? Imagine a billowing veil that never lifts laced like stone into my hair. I’m not the dry asphalt, the retirees watering.
I’m not the clutched-kneed child. I’m the wailing
squall line, funneled wind—needle thrust out to waiting skin.
How many times each day must you consider pain? When you ask what’s wrong, imagine me as an opened animal twitching roadside.
First published in Anti-Heroin Chic
Pain as Memoir
Like winter paints strokes of naked birch across a canvas washed with watered pigment—the between blue and leaden green of your eyes—I!ve painted a memoir of gray. I know I took too long to say plainly how often my silence meant I was dreaming of running, too often I imagined stopping the car, disappearing into the nearest field. Like winter, I never cared much if someone found me—or when—if I!d be flesh, or if my skin would have feathered and blown to the ground as leaves to crumble and dance in January frost. Only the children in the back of our van stopped me, their faces waiting. How their lips would have blued, their breath. Not you. And I!m sorry. You lost me to sadness. I should have told you pain had painted my eyes, sealed my mouth. I should have told you again and again, I no longer believe you love me.
First published in West Trestle Review
I can’t forget, can’t return, all the once
purple-blues: teeth clamped on lip, blood
like hotsalt, tongue a fat steak, pain alivehungry, and all the words I don’t remember, hungry.
I can’t forget pain. The mouth remembers
how pain sleeps, struggles, waits. The mouth knows pain will come, has come, is coming, this way comes through memory—white fade before anesthesia—knows to wake
or not to wake. I don’t always want to wake. Imagine the last true truth you were sure of, that solid cold solid glass marble swirling blueyellow in your palm,
is now just sand churning your legs in water.
The poems are all from her new chapbook, Cataloguing Pain, published by YesYes Books.
Photo credit: Taylor Blevins
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Allison Blevins is the author of four chapbooks and the collection Slowly/Suddenly (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2021). Her books Handbook for the Newly Disabled (BlazeVox, 2022) and Cataloging Pain (YesYes Books, 2022) are forthcoming. She is the Director of Small Harbor Publishing and the Executive Editor at the museum of americana. She lives in Missouri with her partner and three children. For more information visit http://www.allisonblevins.com.