Kirstin Allio

The Morning After

In the beginning,
The snake charms
The snake-charmer,
The fisherman
Carries his old dog
Onto the boat

The Christmas party took
Place within glass
Walls. My waist
was still small and my kids
Vanished to the finished
Basement to surf sofa
Rafts. I surfaced

Between a program
Officer and a car
Collector who’d planted
His feet wide
And crossed
His arms high.
His shoulders

Struck me as pumped
As mammaries
With whey. His whole
Posture said, So,
What’s your number one
Challenge at Save the Fucking Bay?
The enviropath was a bloodless

Post-WASP, who felt more
For the weather
Than for her fellow man.
Menhaden decapitated
By bluefish, I heard
Her say, and
He jutted

His pelvis and gave
A great yuk-yuk type
Of laugh. If
This is an identify-
The-villain poem,
It becomes in-
Supportable as art,

But the problem
With partisan thinking is that
No one wants a sentimental
Scientist. No one
Wants an artist
In times like
These. Walking home,

The moon was green
As a pear, and my kids
had multiplied,
Making me mother earth, and
My husband was mother
Earth too.
I’m trying

To describe the world,
Not change it,
I whispered
In darkness, but my feelers
Felt broken and
There were either no words or
Nothing to describe.

The morning after,
Headless maidens
Had washed thickly
To shore. I’d left
Everyone sleeping. Overhead,
Silver Sysco
Trucks rattled

Loose gills.
Ducks threaded
Pilings, platters
Of tempered
Ice, cakes
Of asphalt cut
From the herd.



Kirstin Allio is author of Garner (Coffee House Press), which was a finalist for the LA Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, Clothed, Female Figure won Dzanc’s Short Story Collection Prize and was published in 2016 and Buddhism for Western Children was the inaugural novel in The Iowa Review Series. Recent publications include poems in Bat City Review, Poetry Northwest, Conjunctions, Prairie Schooner, Fence, Bennington Review, Subtropics, Guesthouse, North American Review, Southwest Review, Sixth Finch, Alaska Quarterly Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Western Humanities Review, and Hotel Amerika. Other honors include the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award, a PEN/O. Henry Prize, and fellowships from Brown University’s Howard Foundation and MacDowell.