There is a trick in this actual work – Kelli Allen

I am going to show you an insignificant clay pot.
There are cracks rivering from belly to base
and we are greedy, passing open mouth wet
vessel from chest-to-chest to keep need alive for three-
thousand years in this hour of our night. The Romans
are coming, no buildings between their helmets
and the soft wriggling space where you keep that heart
of yours. Alligators sleep submerged. They are like us:
we talk about the water beneath these bodies, but ignore
the shoreline too bare in late summer. Fundamentalists don’t

even try to catch dragons entering or exiting a church. This
is the pissing contest between Raven and Coyote. One directs
his stream into the gaping jar, the other pretends to be a fox
in flight and covers the whole village in predictable unthundered
yellow rain. The old men will have to dance all morning
if we watch or not. Jump up and mount the brindle horse!

Whatever you wear, the rattlesnake can find your pulse under
a thin sash. I will tuck what is now an urn, what feeds us its ash
and smoke, tight against my crossed thighs. What wants to enter
will find two roads waiting: It is lovely to be alive, drunk
and sinking antlers into such ripe hide.

About the Author: 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. She served as Managing Editor of Natural Bridge, is the Poetry Editor for The Lindenwood Review, and directs River Styx’s Hungry Young Poets Series. She is a Professor of Humanities/Creative Writing at Lindenwood University. Her chapbook, Some Animals, won the 2016 Etchings Press Prize. Her chapbook, How We Disappear, won the 2016 Damfino Press chapbook award. Her poetry collection, Otherwise, Soft White Ash, arrived from John Gosslee Books in 2012 and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

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