Allison Wilkins is the assistant director for Writing Workshops in Greece. She is the author of Girl Who. Her poems and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming with Sierra, Hayden's Ferry Review, Superstition Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Michigan Quarterly and others.
In the end, we fought over the dogs,
then acknowledged the shimmering prison
was nothing but a lie. In the end, distance
cobbled a sufficient wall of bricks,
an ornate design. In the end, I was cold
and needed light to gleam through me.
A few words. A kind of nourishment.
Then, a dream of the hillside,
a small house on that cove. Only the beginnings
matter, not the leaving, nor the returning.
Someone should have warned us
of the prophecy: two shattered fish
swimming in opposite directions
would become a field of rusted knives.
Year of the Orchid
Let’s say the orchid bloomed for the first time in years,
and it was the year in which you finally stopped waiting.
Later, you catch her trying to eat the cluster
of white and purple; she doesn’t even flinch.
She just swallows and uses her long fingernails
to pick petals from between her teeth. She doesn’t
make eye contact when she walks past. You wonder if
it will make her sick. Sicker than she’s ever been.
So sick that you will have to melt beetles
down to chitin. The days crunch
like dead wasps when she walks away.
Sometimes you go completely numb
from the neck down. You think your own body
is informed by absence. You wonder how long
the orchid will take to heal. You wonder
if it will ever be the same after this.