The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Allie Marini’s “Before Fire: Divorce Poems”

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I’ll Hang Tighter to Your Memories than Rose Did to that Piece of the Titanic

Every detail is a sinking ship,
eyes that might have been blue-green or hazel-brown,
each a starboard light dimmed,
the expressions I charmed onto your face
the bough of the boat dipping under a skin of glacial waters.

Every tangle of your body, a miscounted life raft—
the this-that-there’s of you, all of them
slats broken over ice floes.

Sea-swaddled in missed chances
& the freeze of the Atlantic on every side,
hanging onto a plank of sheared wood
that I’m too selfish to share, while the grip of your knuckles
loosens as your blood loses heat, degree by degree.

Quit whining, Jack, I’m cold, too—
but before the ocean swallows you up, let me ask you something,
& answer me true this time—

Was it me on the bough you loved,
or me on this board?

Whichever me you’d leave, if I were to scoot over
& make space for you on this
smash of plank—with this iceberg as my witness—
I’ll live out the rest of my life as the other one,
& take your memories to my grave.

This selection comes from Allie Marini’s collection Before Fire: Divorce Poems, available now from ELJ Publications. Purchase your copy here!

Allie Marini holds degrees from Antioch University of Los Angeles & New College of Florida, meaning she can explain deconstructionism, but cannot perform simple math. Her work has been a finalist for Best of the Net & nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is managing editor for theNonBinary Review, Unbound Octavo, & Zoetic Press, and co-edits for Lucky Bastard Press with her man, performance poet B Deep. She has previously served on the masthead for Lunch Ticket, Spry Literary Journal, The Weekenders Magazine, Mojave River Review & Press, & The Bookshelf Bombshells. Allie is the author of  Unmade & Other Poems (Beautysleep Press), You Might Curse Before You Bless (ELJ Publications) wingless, scorched & beautiful (Imaginary Friend Press), Before Fire (ELJ Publications), This Is How We End (Bitterzoet), Pictures From The Center Of The Universe(Paper Nautilus, winner of the Vella Prize), Cliffdiving (Nomadic Press), And When She Tasted of Knowledge (Nomadic Press), Southern Cryptozoology: A Field Guide To Beasts Of The Southern Wild (Hyacinth Girl Press), Here Comes Hell {dancing girl press}, & Heart Radicals, a collaborative collection with Les Kay, Janeen Pergrin Rastall & Sandra Marchetti (ELJ Publications).  Allie rarely sleeps, and her mother has hypothesized that she is actually a robot fueled by Diet Coke & Sri Racha. She met George R.R. Martin & did not die. Proof of immortality? Not sure, but it does make a compelling argument…Find her on the web: or @kiddeternity.

Erin Elizabeth Smith is the Creative Director at the Sundress Academy for the Arts and the author of two full-length collections, The Naming of Strays (Gold Wake, 2011) and The Fear of Being Found, which will be re-released from Zoetic Press later this year. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Mid-American, 32 Poems, Zone 3, Gargoyle, Tusculum Review, andCrab Orchard Review. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing and teaches a bit of everything in the English Department at the University of Tennessee. She serves as the managing editor of Sundress Publications and The Wardrobe.


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