This is the center of disappear


Kelli Allen





There are only so many tickets given

in the background, and you slipping past,


collecting nothing, means another type

of looking away.  You wear your body


as grief.  Sometimes, you sleep too close

to an open window and moths lite


wherever your shoulder touched cotton.

Tell me who names the desert and watches


the Minotaur play with his paper ships

and I will savage the distance between


your weird breathing and my need

to have you, finally, again, inside.  This


is never about affection.  Ours is a recitation

billowing beyond generosity into artifact.









Kelli Allen’s latest book is Imagine Not Drowning (C&R Press, 2017).  Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies in the US and internationally.  She is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee and has won awards for her poetry, prose, and scholarly work.  She served as Managing Editor of Natural Bridge, is the current Poetry Editor for The Lindenwood Review, and holds an MFA from the University of Missouri St. Louis.  She is the director of the River Styx Hungry Young Poets Series and founded the Graduate Writers Reading Series for UMSL.  She is currently a Professor of Humanities and Creative Writing at Lindenwood University and teaches for The Pierre Laclede Honors College at UMSL.  Her chapbook, Some Animals, won the 2016 Etchings Press Prize.  Her full-length poetry collection, Otherwise, Soft White Ash, arrived from John Gosslee Books in 2012 and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.  Kelli Allen is online at