palm-reader, fifth avenue


As if everything in the world were penetrable
we seek out archways, sweet lockjaw
of crook and clavicle. Even the ear is a marvel

of vulnerable invention. As if sanctuary, your
hand on the trapdoor of my skull where
hush, quiet, state-issued boots clip the lintel.

What leaves these lines, haunted rivers
parched in the palm. Line of Saturn, Girdle
of Venus, that break toward the thumb

a sickness. Someone might have hurt you once
or again. I want other hands. Give me freckles.
Constellate me, flatten out the creases,

a nebulae whose only clear picture, infrared and cave-like,
billows, birthing stars. Give me no other side

to these steel clouds, this cathedral.

Kenzie Allen is a poet, editor, designer, and literary activist. She recently completed a Zell Postgraduate Fellowship in Poetry at the University of Michigan's Helen Zell Writers' Program ('14) where she was the recipient of Hopwood Awards in poetry and non-fiction. She is the recipient of the 2014 Littoral Press Poetry Prize, a 2013 Emerging Writers Fellowship to Aspen Summer Words from the Aspen Writers' Foundation, and a Zell residency fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center. Dress Like Pocahontas, Then Let's Make Love was originally published in Dialogist. 

Poem originally published in Word Riot.