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Category archive for: Allison Seay

Uneven Love

How to lie was something learned.

It meant love

at the time anyway.

Mine will be a long life

feeling always a little ruined,

deep in a well,

knowing the worst thing

I am capable of

not telling. Once did I see the figment as a man.

One man in particular

and the most unusual I have known.

I knew him in a different city.

He was older but not old

and I lied to save us (him)

from disgrace. He said even

without love there is a story of love.

Even without sex, desire.

It does not matter; I understand the strange logic

by which we lived:

to withhold the truth meant

we could create a new one,

a separate thing

true or not un-true.

It was our arrangement.

from To See the QueenFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2013
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

The Figment

If I am still enough I see Liliana, a figment.

I try to tell her about sadness. I try

to be specific; I say, “God

is abusive.” I say, “When my lover said

he no longer loved me

I felt I was covered in ropes.”

But then she vanishes,

as God does, or she returns in a different form—

this time as an avalanche, a ledge of snow, slipping

from the roof of a warehouse into

even more snow. I will tell her next I think

that is one way of living: slipping off

into some indistinguishable state

of more and more snow.

from To See the QueenFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2013
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

One Man Town

A man asked me to marry him.

It was a day cloud-scarce, the sky bright and skeletal

like a beginning. I saw right through

to his wild green heart

as he explained the impossible, believing

if there is a time machine it is not a ship in space,

but a horse on the hemline of a field

fearless in one direction, toward sunup.

Then, the night sky would bloom

into brilliance and there, see?, there I am—he can

barely make me out—a figment tearing toward him

through the spring, at last.

from To See the QueenFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2013
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

The Queen

The figment is the same as the sadness sometimes.

Wild gold and dark red. The color of snow under a streetlamp.

Or of smoke pluming from a house

under a white sky in the morning. The color

of a queen. I try to keep her, even while she is leaving

and even after I know she has left. I shout,

“Are you there, are you even there?” meaning God

but also Liliana. I want to ask her

which is worse: dying

or being dead. And then I can see her floating away

as down a hill of ice. With her she has one half

of my whole being. She holds me high above her head

and I wave to myself like a flag.

from To See the QueenFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2013
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Bathing

I have been alone with the thing itself.

The depression. The defective heart. God.

Inside my mind it is dawn. A wolf appears with a bird

in its mouth. Blue feathers, my fate, the beautiful white throat.

from To See the QueenFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2013
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Town of Unspeakable Things

Then there was the time I looked directly into the face

of the life I thought I was missing,

of love. I used to think to be not alone meant

never having to walk through the high wheat

or struggle in the water. Not having to decide not

to fling from some height.

Once, the two of us rode one bicycle.

I wore a straw hat and perched on the handlebars

and beside us the sea oats swayed like skirts

and I heard a trilling in the crabgrass.

The sidewalks were bleached as grecian stone

as we rode past the fish shop smelling of morning—

salt, bread, limes, men.

Riding in front, it was such that

I could not be heard always, at least not the first time

for you pedaled into the wind

and my hair was a ribbon in your eyes.

I said I thought bougainvillea was a stoic plant

and then had to say twice, no, stoic! and then

no, the bougainvillea! and then you said easily

it was nothing like that at all.

But our future was clear enough when I asked if you saw

the clean aprons of those men

(how much longer you think until they clean the fish?

did you see how white those aprons were? did you see?)

To which you said

How much is it, then, you think you need?

from To See the QueenFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2013
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

The Sisters’ Incident With the Figment at the Bus Stop, 1985

for Emily

We were only girls then

and we did not yet not love ourselves.

Our deaths were only beginning to ripen.

In one dream of us, I wait for her the way, once,

I did not. I help collect her spilled lunch

from the gravel. We miss the rumbling bus and spend

all day hiding in the neighbor’s wild yard

and walk to an almost-dry creek and do not talk

about the many little deaths inside of it.

In that dream, there is not her red frightened face

outside the glass. I did not abandon her. The apple

is not rolling in the street because this time

I saved it. In that one, the future

sits between us like a figment in the grass

and says we have time still to decide our lives.

We make for her a jewelry of clover

and we let her be the queen.

from To See the QueenFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2013
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Town of the Beloved

We rested on a blanket by the water

where I combed the sand and spoke your name gently

You slept but I was not tired and never have I studied

the fullness of a back not even of the dying

propped on their sides as I did yours then

I tried to mimic your breathing though I did not close my eyes

at least not for long instead I kept a kind of vigil

swatting for you what seemed a thousand nameless insects

See it was afternoon the ocean warm to boredom

boat oil and pelicans and I thumbed through a book

while I waited for you to stir to apologize but for what

for disappearing for leaving me to distinguish alone

my desires to want you or want to become you

Wake up please wake so that I might tell how it is

I can for you sit all day in a field of sand

from To See the QueenFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2013
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Late Apology

The bees came by the hundreds

and by the hundreds was she stung,

their little shell-bodies working like a net.

And when I saw her dead in the creek

(bee queen of my dream)

it was the first time I feared being found

face down dead like a coward.

from To See the QueenFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2013
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Runaway Bride

Before they fell they waved like flags, the leaves,

and as they broke, there became a lovely order

to the dying.

The water spider moved

in no hurry at the bottom of the drained pond.

Everything seemed as it should.

Because I could

I even spent a while throwing apples

at a fence post. Over and over, my arm hurled

the poor things farther and farther

from the tree that had released them.

from To See the QueenFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2013
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

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