We Come in Anyway

Kelli Allen


 I want to call you close to the window wood to listen                                                                                         when the moth settles his antenna, alien fuzz                                                                                                       and vertices, against just fogged glass.

 When the father asks if they want to die alone,                                                                                                       or be finished now, and quick, the men respond,                                                                                                 each in turn, in their long white rows, with a mouth                                                                                           nicotine stained, then a head turned, slow to the right                                                                                         or to the left—whichever way they remember                                                                                                           a window might face, though there are no breezes                                                                                               and no songs here. We live every day

 with a child we do not know. Sometimes it is difficult                                                                                           to understand who is saving whom. The symptom                                                                                                   is sleep. Is it better to stay tucked into the blanket                                                                                                 we drape over the bed? Is it better to let the throat swell?

 We hear sparrows in both winter and almost-spring. Why,                                                                                 then, do we close the door every time a wing peeks                                                                                             past our thresholds? You are the albino moose                                                                                                   who thinks about eating branches already                                                                                                               on the ground. Tell me what it means to begin

 with anything, not knowing where it’s going to go.

Kelli Allen’s latest book is Imagine Not Drowning (C&R Press, 2017). Allen’s work has appeared in numerous journals in the US and internationally. Her chapbook, Some Animals, won the 2016 Etchings Press Prize. Her chapbook, How We Disappear, won the 2016 Damfino Press award. Her collection, Otherwise, Soft White Ash, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

To learn more, visit http://www.crpress.org/shop/imagine-not-drowning/