There Are Ships Closer If You Let Them
You are kneeling on a quilt
printed with tiny jellyfish
Their tentacles wrapping into pattern
after pattern. Your knees make a soft
well for softer bodies and suddenly
there are cotton currents beneath
bone and stretched skin.
If you will open your eyes
maybe you can rise, too, and leave
believing in the black bag getting heavy,
fat, with what you have made to be better,
to be motionless and good. I want
to tell you, your face pink, fevered just
so, that one morning, soon, I will take
you to the lighthouse you have painted.
I will take you to the rocks leading
upward where light rotates between fog
and whatever is left to love, to promise.
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 of The Lindenwood Review and an editor for River Styx, and she 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