Poetry of Kansas Here & Now, There & Then

Posts tagged ‘Allison Berry’

124. To the Stars Through Difficulty: Allison Berry

Everything’s for sale on the roadside: melons, old Chevys, pure bred
mastiffs, peaches, our minds, our bones.  We’re all half drunk
on the lead our toes soak up from soil.  We’re all half sick.

We can’t be the Kansas this country needs.  A child hollers
God Hates Fags somewhere outside Topeka. The burden of America’s dream,

the lies stuck in our throats, we can’t sustain the guise.
We’re all half choking on the Kansas of our memories: the impossible plains,
the doe, sunflower and owl.  My Kansas birthed me godless, birthed children’s

dandelion hunger, birthed the gunman and Dr. Tiller like an unstuffed straw man
dead on the church floor.  We aren’t just some promise of good old days.

– Allison Berry

82. The Leaver

The crabapple Kansas of sixteen ran me mad,

ran me away from the flatness and fleeting

green, ran me to the woman, St. Theresa,

the cherub-faced social worker, who I would meet

much later, mid-twenties. She held the same promise

of an unborn child, the promise that in the end

all becomes dirt. There were women to love,

but only if I could confuse love

with its opposite, and only if the women were fine

believing the lies we lay down to create, lies like whispers

of ourselves reflected in our glisten and sheen.

I met illness too. For me,

cancer. But what is all of this to Kansas?

 

What of St. Theresa, who sold a cocaine death,

who sold addiction and called it artistry,

who etched the minutes in my face

like years, who tried to feed me and fill the hole

left from losing those childhood

plains? Does Kansas miss

the leaver, and will Kansas keep me

if I return? You will never know

my Kansas, never know its summer song

sung over wheat, whistled by wind, the hollering promise

of salvation for those of us trying to crawl our way back.

Kansas can never be home until it has been lost.

– Allison Berry

Allison Berry was born and raised in Pittsburg, Kansas.  She received her bachelor’s degree from Cornell College and her master’s from Pittsburg State University.  She lives in Pittsburg with her wife and son, and she teaches English and Women’s studies at Pittsburg State University.

 

67. Cow Creek

When I went out, Cow Creek let me in.

The creek hid me. The creek taught

me words and to worship its thrust.

 

The willow would announce spring.

Catkins called me into the wet.

 

April was water spilling into the yard,

creeping up, turning my rivulet torrent.

 

When ejected indoors by wind and rain,

the creek still whispered in a vestigial voice

words like home that bathed me in shelter.

– Allison Berry

Allison Berry was born and raised in Pittsburg, Kansas.  She received her bachelor’s degree from Cornell College and her master’s from Pittsburg State University.  She lives in Pittsburg with her wife and son, and she teaches English and Women’s studies at Pittsburg State University.

Tag Cloud

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 418 other followers