before the end,
it is tuesday.
we sit behind lemon trees,
hidden in our own thoughts.

you rest your hand on my thigh.

before the fall, it is too late to go home.
i make sure to note the way
you lick your lips.
perhaps they taste like maple.

before the blush,
i know your middle name.
we hold damp hands. 

i confess i am hungry for the world.

there is tender in your eyes.

before you,
my life swings and dips.
i lazily taste youth from the spring.

let it drip down my chin.
let it sharpen my teeth.



what monstrous anxiety my body houses.
a quiet violence. a homing signal. 
in every language i bear this warning label;


what god decided on
my punishment? 

this quick, trapped bird. 
wild-winged animal.


what do i desire? 

let me be the impossible. 
let me furnish
this space
with things that do not look
so much like black holes. 

let me say
i am terribly confined
to the shelter of my skin.

and let it be a




there is nothing to be found in the bedroom, they tell me.
full moon leaves light across the bed.
some nights there will be a wolf,
all claws and teeth, sleeping next to you.

and you will feel the blood drawn slowly,
almost as if by mistake.
the moon will change.

a ripe grapefruit and then a light switch dimming.

you will ask for fresh air and still be found wanting.
maybe it will be too gentle, the paws of a great beast
tamed by insufficient time apart, or alone,
or too little light reflecting in your eyes.
maybe you will be more sky than lover.
just a little too dark, a little too blue-black, a little too night.
it will call you a thief, they say,
insist you steal stars from the window.

but i have always known the ways of this.
of nightgowns raised and hands searching.
it does not frighten me like it's supposed to.
i have always wondered about teeth,
if they have to wound to draw attention.

if new skin has to close over before dawn or if,
by some slight miracle,
the animal hides the man only out of necessity.



i learn from my own downfall.
my head in my hands.

face in my hands.

distant. shores.
tuck my hair behind my ear.

this isn’t the story for remorse.
this isn’t the time for it. hasn’t ever been.
but i tell you. the hills and valleys.

i arch my back
and fields of daisies bloom.

i haven’t a clue how to live here, but i live.

ALISON MALEE is a lover of literature, caffeinated beverages, and pretending every season is autumn. She currently resides in New York with her husband and their children, probably reading some form of prose or another. 

More from Alison: Her official website is Alisonmalee.com, and she can be found on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter under Alison Malee. The above poems are part of Alison Malee's new poetry collection THE DAY IS READY FOR YOU






No poem comes simply from one thing. There is almost always a series of thoughts and emotions that have to be married together in order for the language to work creatively on the page.