Conversations from Luquillo to Boston, Following the Wrong Dog Home

By KELLI ALLEN 

Fair roof, dripping hall—these are names for sky where there should be only helmets left in the sand. We waste words mapping distance from one church to another, when religiosity is Fenrir in the north, and fresh birthed inkings, rooted in south sea brine. This is the way with us: Pythagorean stubbornness while we square the same four city blocks and discuss, too fast, our respective shames, walnuts quick meeting fire, and our first model ships.

You told me a story twice—once after collapsing against rough surf, and again while squinting into your first raw oyster. I learned both times that Vasilisa pulled up her hood and the rain came anyway and there is nothing too affected when staring hard, looking up through thick lashes. My answers to your questions were the same, too. Listening to Shuman propels all cattle directly into foam every time they get a craving for salt. Local fishermen near Luquillo assured us that hooves carry the beasts just fine over dune or mud. These men told us, in a round something like folksong, that the seaweed populating a wake is called mane of the field. At this, you collected a razor clam as it tunneled down and offered the pearlescent shell in an open palm.

This is the way Cézanne asks us to drown.

On the plane you close your eyes and change everything. I won’t tell you how to skewer a raspberry to keep it whole, and you won’t look at my mouth and remember that you might have fallen hard if we had stayed quiet longer.

It’s alright that you do not wake when I remove the bone pin from your cloak. What sets us apart, like Archimedes, is the way we assert ourselves in each city, our occupation remains only to firm fit one set of fingers over another, anchors locked in oak and lapis, to signal, eventually, we are already away.

 

Kelli Allen’s full-length poetry collection, Otherwise, Soft White Ash, arrived from John Gosslee Books in 2012 and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Her latest book, Imagine Not Drowning, will be released from C&R Press in January.

Photo by Jonathan Veguilla from Flickr Creative Commons

Conversations from Luquillo to Boston, Following the Wrong Dog Home

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