Here Are Instructions for Removing the Scissors
Take the bribe offered and just plunge your entire
arm, full past the twist of elbow, into the cool muck.
Take this moment as opening of determined appetite—
the blades are yours once pulled into the grass. Yours.
Take whatever weird laughter you hear behind your shoulder
as balm, a resolve for how far you can open, can exhale, and search.
Take slippery weeds, darkening further down, lightening as they snake
up your wrist into the fading day, as a message—everything feeds, waits.
Take dense mud around your fingers and pull tightly the looped handle
as you dislodge the entirety of silver from this reeking, shallow pond.
Take every opportunity to own and wield the weapons for cutting, as every-
thing begs, at some sharp moment, to be severed, to be made sweetly clean.
About the Author: Kelli Allen’s 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 full-length poetry collection, Otherwise, Soft White Ash, arrived from John Gosslee Books in 2012 and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.www.kelli-allen.com
Artwork: Paul Ebenkamp is author of The Louder the Room the Darker the Screen (Timeless, Infinite Light, 2015), “Four Colors for the Based God” (The Equalizer: Second Series, 2014), “Seizured in the Ease” (Mondo Bummer, 2013), and everything at afterundisclosedrecipients.blogspot.com, and is editor of a few books including Modernist Women Poets: An Anthology (Counterpoint, 2014) and Particulars of Place by Richard O. Moore (Omnidawn, 2015). With Andrew Kenower he curates the Woolsey Heights reading series, and with strings and devices makes music as Position.