Three Poems

by Kirstin Allio

Night Swimming

Our houseguest wears a tiny cross on a thread of a chain like something that stuck to her collarbone while she was swimming.

I can’t take my eyes off it. I’m up all night full of hope and despair; death is openended life is terminal. I’m going to be a better citizen of myself. Is life the pole death the crosspole? Sleeplessness the paddle?

Rain Dance

More often than not, it’s a safe bet to write yourself in nature. The human tree. Because the Internet is a Ouija board. I just lost a growth ring browsing online vitamins. Window shopping like a bird flying at the same glass a hundred times on a single morning, as dazed as a football player.


The nasturtiums fold from frost like little round tablecloths. People have always wanted to be like other people. Let the grouplove, let the corps lie still in shivasana. It’s crazy. Everybody is so overwhelmed and anemic. The nasturtiums are bloodless now. Tomorrow is a celebrity, yesterday a black hole, the virtue of the present moment is one more myth and winter, you folktale.

Kirstin Allio

Kirstin Allio’s novel, Garner (Coffee House), was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize for First Fiction. She has received the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award, a PEN/O.Henry Prize, and published short stories and essays in many fine magazines. She recently won the Dzanc Short Story Collection Competition and her collection, Clothed, Female Figure will come out with Dzanc in 2016. She lives in Providence, RI.