By Allison Blevins
when a school becomes a front line, it helps
to imagine my children at their desks still as stones.
It helps me to remember that some bullets
were meant for some children like prophecies
inscribed on metal: name, location, hair and eye color.
I imagine my own children startled into the first quiet moments
of awakening when dreaming becomes the orange of daylight,
all the sharp weekday wakings. It helps to imagine
the faces of all the mothers from all the holiday parties
and spring sing-alongs. All their faces folding
into a chill afternoon crowd. Turn it all to fleeting refrain.
It helps to imagine all the ways for a child to become
American. On days like this, panic slips quickly
into a deep, forgotten place in my body. My eyes
drift from the road, smitten with the sun’s glare inviting
itself from an abandoned car window. The sleeper
lines speak a modern but ancient language—save yourself.
On days like this, the children will come home and help
with the washing and dusting, a man will sell straw
and firewood roadside. What the body carries, on these days,
reminds me of Iowa—the hills and pigs—how the smell
lingered on my clothes and hair years after I’d moved away.
About the Author
Allison Blevins received her MFA at Queens University of Charlotte and is a Lecturer for the Women’s Studies Program at Pittsburg State University and the Department of English and Philosophy at Missouri Southern State University. In 2017, she was named a finalist for the Cowles Poetry Book Prize, the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, and the Moon City Poetry Award. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in such journals as Mid-American Review, the minnesota review, Nimrod International Journal, Sinister Wisdom, and Josephine Quarterly. She lives in Joplin, Missouri, with her wife and two children.