Two Poems
by ALLISON WILKINS
I.
Girl Who Tells Stories to Dogs

In one there is a glorious bounty of yellow squeaky balls, in another charcoal treats. Sometimes the kong is full of peanut butter, and other times easy cheese. There are squirrels to chase, leave piles to scatter, mud to sniff. There is one about a house made of chicken jerky and pepperoni treats. In another, the dog is a doctor; in another a bounty hunter. Sometimes the dog is a scientist unlocking the secrets of alchemy. Sometimes the dog must find the golden bone to destroy the evil witch who cast a spell over its owner. Sometimes the dogs are puppies lost in the woods who find their way home without help from the cat. The dog is always the hero—leaping fence—saving the helpless girl child from a speeding train, a poisonous snake, messenger pigeons, blue cotton candy & rubber boots.

II.
Summer of the Ticks

The air is humid but mild.  Deer eat
everything green, even the cucumber’s sticky skin.
We buy our first house. We are five years deep.

Men in blaze orange shred
in search of a sewer line. Bites braille bug
over my legs. Bumps appear between my toes,

on my back and armpits. Each freckle
is a parasite.  Dead squirrels
are car-smashed around every curve.

Brains pop out of their tiny gray skulls.
My body becomes something other
than a body. The dogs

feng shui their energy over the house,
chase each other around the magnolia tree.
Cows laze sun scorched in the fields.

Then, the July fight. We swirl swords
of ingratitude and selfishness. I keep screaming
don’t stare into the abyss. Don’t stare into the abyss.
We change and I no longer recognize us.

ALLISON WILKINS is a graduate of the University of Nevada Las Vegas International MFA program. Her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming with STILL, Broken Bridge Review, The Georgetown Review, The Adirondack Review, Platte Valley Review and others. Her article “through the beautiful red”: The Use of the Color Red as the Triple-Goddess in Sylvia Plath’s Ariel was published with Plath Profiles (August 2010).  She currently lives in Virginia with her husband and dogs. She is an Assistant Professor of English and Associate Editor of the James Dickey Review at Lynchburg College.