John Allman


Or molasses. Maybe the God particle that keeps
lovers hip to hip.  Or is it sticky Satan? A kiss
has no mass. Talk about spin or parity will
get you flipped, facing the other way, where
a setting sun is always rising, falling leaves
beseech their maker. But transformation’s
all there is, nothing lost, nothing still for long.
What you call matter just an envelope for
everything that orbits within, unseen, the
quiet question why even as we move from
here to there, we love each other. Or don’t.   
Let’s call each other quark, strange, muon,
what’s the difference? Some thing or force
does not abate even as it comes apart. It’s
always there, plasma, gas, maybe solid as
your hand in mine. Or flowing with grief. 

Naming the Season

April frost, morning’s trumpery, this rimy skin
on tufted raspberry canes, peony’s blood half
emerged: my eighty-third spring shivers up
from clay, rising to the sun, clear pointillist molecules
assembling blossoms of the cherry, vertical green
of new grass. Last night’s moon now the glow returned
by speech, white crocus undoing its closure, vision released;
my name slipped free from the split skin of the damselfly,
slow, elastic, precise as the repetition of acids,
carried through darkness by the lava-tube cricket,
eating into the dawn, blind as larvae of the braconid
wasp, frothy, fertile, gleaming on stems. Let it rise
to the surface of sluggish streams on leaves of
pickerel and arrowhead, surviving longer than chicory,
morning glory, wild pinks, bee balm, nervous as cilia,
scarlet as tanagers, filling the heads of columbine;
the soul’s bits and pieces gathered and component
as alyssum, the pulse of who I am beating against
             a thin, mammalian wall.

The Mauve Horizon

Always the edge of sea. The curved whereabouts.
If hope were thought or thought were hope, what
unkindness to be nothing here along the beach,
while north is the island where marines train to
disable and kill. Go beyond coloration, that line of
pelicans, how it wavers, breaks apart, reunites, each
bird’s appetite a spittle of need, a chomping sound
in the belly, as if eating were being eaten, and your
hand shielding your eyes from the last of sun is a
fact never to be denied. Simply there. A risen part
of you.  Shade and light. The spectrum of color that
sky breaks into. As if you could walk there. As if you
were neither you nor anyone else. A heavenly streak.

John Allman has published eight books and two books of short stories. His latest books are Algorithms (prose poems) (2012) and A Fine Romance (short stories) (2016), both published by Quale Press. He has recently completed work on his 9th book of poems, Deep Breath: New & Selected Poems 2004-2017.



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