When You Don’t Need Me

by Alison Palmer

If I have to be a house, I want to be warm
          and cavernous, your final days.

If this must be a story I repeat, let me forget
     when you did what you told me
never to do; let go.

In the dark morning hours
    when we’d wake early in our separate states,
the birds were brutal; robins couldn’t see
       to gather food, so they shrilled, instead

Maybe I become like a robin now, part of the dawn
    chorus that begins even earlier
          in my city beneath the street
lamps and corporate buildings. Maybe I let wishing-

cardinals in my chest go free, if that’s what
      they want. I lose them like I lost you,
    drawn to an artificial light.



Alison Palmer is the author of the poetry chapbook, The Need for Hiding (Dancing Girl Press, 2018). To read an interview visit http://www.thepoetsbillow.org. Alison’s work appears or is forthcoming in FIELD, The Cincinnati Review, River Styx, Columbia Review, Cimarron Review, The Journal, Rogue Agent and elsewhere. She received her MFA from Washington University in St. Louis and currently writes outside Washington, D.C. Find Alison on the web at alisonpalmer.org.

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