February 17-23, 2014: Allison Thorpe and Chris Flynn

Allison Thorpe and Chris Flynn

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.

Allison Thorpe

Bio (auto)

Allison Thorpe lives and writes from a stone house near Sulphur Well, Kentucky, where she dreams of becoming an international poker player. The author of one book of poems and one chapbook, she has appeared in a variety of journals, some of which include Appalachian Heritage, Green Mountains Review, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Poem, Snail Mail Review, Wind, and Juggler’s World. The following poems are from a manuscript entitled The House of Growing Up.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Allison Thorpe and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

the economics of oatmeal

A tepid lump-riddled concoction
Usually escorted by dry toast
Offered between early loads of laundry
And a shift at the printing factory

I imagined I was magic
Slithering from my mother’s table
And quietly scooting the stairs down
To where my grandparents lived

Then conjuring in their warm kitchen
With my bowl of milky smoothness
Chunked with apples and fat raisins
Food that fed a deeper hunger

photo with church hats

My mother insisted on the outing
Roused us like roosters
Slathering us in Sunday finery
(we were not church people)

Plopped the wide flat saucers
On our startled heads
Surely the early pattern for Frisbees
Those hats could scare any doorway

Stiff scratchy ribbon hard tied
To keep our whiny chins in line
Lace flowed like holy water
And plastic petals faked a life

Below that blessed gauding
My sister and I wriggled
Agonized faces like sour
Pumpkins missing teeth

Maybe Mother hoped for miracles—
The hallowing hymnals or strict pews
Some stained glass Jesus
To stray my father from the bottle

Photo blurred in haste or hate
My mother’s face so hopeful
It took me years to realize
The picture was not about our hats

Chris Flynn

Bio (auto)

Chris Flynn, an Ohio transplant, lives in Davenport, Florida where, to his Chagrin (an Ohio city next to the town in which he grew up), anoles crawl over and sometimes inside, every inch of his house. Check out Chris’s book Collected from a second-hand laptop.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Chris Flynn and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Anole Blues

When I called that thing a gecko,
my new Florida neighbor said,
almost angrily, An-ohs, we call them
An-ohs, or a-noles down here.

Straight-faced she added,
Never call them chameleons,
geckos, or salamanders.

Actually, Webster’s on-line audio
pronounces the name, a-no-lee.
It rhymes with cannoli.

Also from my neighbor that day
I learned another southern secret.
Floridians recognize northerners
by their reactions to anoles
as evidenced by a follow-up question:
Where in the north are you from?
To which my Ohio-born face
turned red, anole-like, that day
as I wriggled away.

Whatever one calls them,
like chameleons, their colors
can change to green or brown.

This morning, one sticky-footed lizard
woke me in my bedroom.
He took on a light dry-wall color
as he scampered across the ceiling.

In that moment, I discovered
similar to cannolis,
a-no-les are stuffed
with a creamy something,
though I doubt it to be
sweet ricotta cheese.

Afterwards, I read that an anole’s tail
wriggles and can rip off in a predator’s grip,
distracting its captor long enough
to allow escape, to live another day.

When I saw my neighbor again,
I grabbed the tail of a nearby anole
and sure enough it broke away.
She almost fainted as it wriggled in my hand
and I, in a sort of southern kind of way,
asked her a question to which she shouted
as she scampered away—Michigan!


Subscribe to our weekly Newsletter: