the science and soul of an innocent world

When We Argue About Unraveling Glass

By Kelli Allen

You want panic? Let me show you
the Maypole dance constructed
underwater, where the tardigrades
tardigrade By Goldstein lab - tardigrades (originally posted to Flickr as water bear) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
have resorted to glass instead
of shotgun flames, the kind you love
in old movies, in the older country.

These outstretched songs are fierce,
but not enough for you, singer, rock
collector too good for lava stone, too
whole for my cracked humming.

Show me how you risk blisters
placing that hand by this fire.  I won’t
believe you unless I, too, am falling
through mud to get closer to coal
and the King’s retainer. So, tell me

the story one more time. Remind me
that one year is too long for a finch
but just an eyelash bat for a water bear.

Somewhere in your body you swallowed
down both the instrument and the surplus
and now the cherub flies fast with both
our crowns and you just stretch and stretch.

melting glaciers

About the author

Kelli Allen

Kelli Allen’s work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies in the US and internationally. She is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee. She is currently a Professor of Humanities and Creative Writing at Lindenwood University. Allen gives readings and teaches workshops throughout the US. Her full-length poetry collection, Otherwise, Soft White Ash, from John Gosslee Books (2012) was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

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