Kirstin Allio

Adaptation II.

If passwords
were business
models angels

like locusts would
venture down.
Only old crack

pots like me
use old addresses,
as if to capitalize

or cannibalize
my own secrets. Every
one was a special

character back in the day.
Or phone numbers
still waiting for that weeping

girl to vacate
the booth fogged
with the primitive

bond of jargon,
lopsided cycle.

I miss the taste
and touch of things.
Atrophied capacities

revisioned as means
of being on
line, production

of the wrong magic,
the thinning of time.
I use old

addresses in order
to remember how
I got here.

Adaptation III.

The phone is now never
not modified
by a progressive pronoun.
Both modest males
and self-possessed
females have spiral horns.

That coy is in coyote,
pausing unhidden
in a winter field.

Adaptation IV.

Fear of death is a strange virtue
To cultivate to deal with living under the owning
Sun and stars coined to describe the view
From the butt end of the earth,
The small-talk of birds like table salt.

What I mean by fear of death is Enlightenment
Thinking. The Euro-I, the aphoristic:
I have the same taste in masks
As I do in underwear. I’m always
Suspicious of people who have
Two cars the same color.
And it would be really exciting,

If somewhat discordant,
Were someone else to clear my bowl
And spoon, meaning men
Have hogged all the wars, leaving women
Shorthanded when it comes to the dishes.


There was no one she could call
For help for days
Were long lite

And winter had synchronized
Its commercial breaks
To prevent the permeation of song.

No canary
No hack
Mule decked out
With headlamp could retrieve
Her daughter’s cellular
Chaff for the rape

Kit. No way out
But to wait.
Pain was being
One with pain.
Spring her station
Of the cross—mother

As original
Insomniac. Hard to imagine

The seed of a common land
Scaping bush traveling
In birdshit like a wild
Flower seed.

Dreams encoded
Out of fear of exposure
To a bright bland
Reason a stagnant
Season an anti-love—
Despair was no refuge and
It was easier to imagine
Snow in a street
Light on
Screen than
To really look
Through the dark.


Wax-wings, thanks
For the prototype
Upright positions & lavatories
Like caskets:

Try stretching
The sentence in there
Don’t even try smoking
Carries a sentence

A genuine masterpiece:
Self-discover that genius
Baby in the aisle
The air as stale

As drinking your own palm
Wine, pee, ancient acuity tea:
In opening shot
After opening

Shot, the sentence
Of technology foretold
By the incubation temp
Of Mt. Rainier’s first

Name, Tacoma, tool
Of record, rising as if
From another earth, wholly
Unimpressed by human flight.


If I were that Rohingya woman who had to choose
which child, if the lovely
orthodontist pictured in the New York
Times, in dark
green (silk
slissing through seagrass),
had to deliver her still
born, hallucinating
drugstore balloons,

if I were the doctor with hairless hands
would I have paused

before the red rose on her door?

I borrow tragedy that trades
as knowledge. Yet
on a basic level, I’m groomed
for the drug of not knowing
why the grassy bank across the hard
working river remains wild.

(A crab with a side
arm side-walks
across asteroids.) No spinal,
I thought I screamed, no longer
sure which body
was mine, was my neck
in stirrups, my feet
on their backs under the doctor’s nose?

Some days, all
I see in the cemetery
are wives who out
lived their husbands
by hundreds of lives.

Kirstin Allio’s novels are Buddhism for Western Children (University of Iowa) and Garner (Coffee House), and the story collection Clothed, Female Figure (Dzanc). Recent work is out or forthcoming in AGNI, American Short Fiction, Bennington Review, Conjunctions, Fence, New England Review, Plume, Poetry Northwest, Prairie Schooner, Subtropics, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from Brown University’s Howard Foundation and MacDowell.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.