Allison Wilkins is a graduate of the University of Nevada Las Vegas International MFA program. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Broken Bridge Review, Chickenpinata, Tiger’s Eye, hotmetalpress, The Georgetown Review and others. Her poems have also been anthologized. She currently lives in Virginia with her husband and two dogs. She is an Assistant Professor at Lynchburg College.
Buckwheat pancakes, olive carpet,
vitamin bottles of poker quarters,
tomatoes, orange juice corn flakes.
There is no forgetting.
that isn’t heard. No matter how hard
Hills of squash and beans,
instant coffee, two scoops of cream,
Vidalia onions, garlic, stroke.
A god who whips
his children with the branch
of their choosing, starves them,
locks them in the closet.
Above ground but unable,
you didn’t make it to my wedding.
I don’t believe in Jesus.
You weren’t in the day room.
So I searched. Begged the wheelchair
to be someone else’s. Found you.
A simple shrug of the shoulders, a senile glint.
Blood oozing between your eyes,
down your nose, off your chin.
Deuteronomy details the rules
of sacrifice and worship.
The refrigerator too tightly squeezed
under the cabinets in the kitchen.
I replaced the yellowed curtains
with bamboo shades. Sifted through
drawers stuffed with Devotionals,
Watchtower Propaganda, the Book
of Mormon, Catholic translations,
Rig Veda, Buddha’s Dialogues,
ten Holy Bibles.
I knew Jesus wasn’t enough.
Blue and red. On top.
Forgive me, of little faith.
Girl Who Companion Plants Basil and Tomatoes
Baking breads with cinnamon
and packets of yeast, she kneads,
a baker in twilight.
Night dreams of replacements,
counting cigarette butts
littered in conditioned mess.
She writes fragments stashed
between pages of books
and flosses shoe laces
between blonde braids.
Cultivating soil with egg shells
and leaves, she plows,
a poet in daylight.
Books heavy and a bag
of organic dirt. She is
the space between
fall and winter, when
the leaves cling branches.
Part of me knows that this forgetting
is wrong. Hardwood in the hallway, wrecked,
the plaques and tangles, like dog piss stains,
saturate your mind, cling to the wood
despite four rounds of bleach and peroxide.
Peach carpet placed almost twenty years ago
fought peeling. Padding underneath was moldy. You ask,
“Did you let the dog out?”
Sneeze and sneeze and sneeze.
A permanent part of the floor.
Later at the kitchen table trying to play rummy,
you’ll ask again.
“Yes, Grandma. I did.”
Sand the black out,
bleach it out, cover it
with runners. Forgive me.