Poetry by Abi Pollokoff

"Triptych Part Three" by Rachel Lebo / rachellebo.com



The Auction

I woke up this morning with seagulls encased inside me. And I said, “Here, this is what I have to offer.” The seagulls preened and prodded, and you said, “Do you have anything for sale?” And I said, “Here, take these seagulls, they’re inside me.” You looked at the skin encasing them as the seagulls preened and prodded. And              you said, “How will you set them free for me?” And I said, “I will run them out through my knees.” And the seagulls preened and              prodded because they knew they were for sale. And you said, “I am not too fond of knees. I am a little too consumed in your              wrists.”

stains of an enemy’s century

at the pier, a catch in tumbles                                                                 [a cheshire evening] what is the lady’s drainage here?                                                                                        [the sea, emptying its letters] leaving water, she takes the trees herself                                                                                        [cypress]                                                                 [pine] can’t navigate waterways with anything                                            but the carved kayak                   [builds bridges instead] lady struts the sanded paths, asks tides their wither                                                                                         [strums islands as casual gifts]                                                                                        [casual gifts] lifting alibis by presence, the lady sifts empty                                                                 nests in the sea                      [light scratches                                                                                                                                         her belly


In a compact garden, I shape air into its domestications: tomatoes and one stone path. Others’ busy tongues ask questions that disintegrate into labels of compost and manure.                          The people here look for economies within each stalk. Every time I wake up I remember I’m a little more dead— Every time I think I’m a bumblebee, or, this is what blood feels:                                                                                  bone has never been such an obstacle. I’m learning this city by its accoutrements: mosaic turtle on a front stoop, jellyfish mobile made of gold tinsel, air scented with fennel and anise after a rain. When the pulsing bus passes with a rumble of electricity, I learn the meaning of arterial streets: this blood                                       is no thicker inside or out of its skintight wrappers. Someone planted a raptor                                                   —built of tin or copper— on their stoop. The dandelions that used to grow there called themselves sunflowers. I am interested in certain words:                                       tender              arabesque There’s a sashay in them I can’t dance—something light blue—but they swallow themselves so effortlessly, and I like that.



Abi Pollokoff is a Seattle-based writer with work forthcoming from or previously in CutBank, Poetry Northwest, Black Warrior Review, and Guernica, among others. In Fall 2017, she was the writer in residence for The Alice. A former reader for the Seattle Review and editor in chief of the Tulane Review, she won the 2012 Anselle M. Larson/Academy of American Poets prize for Tulane University. Her MFA is from the University of Washington. Find her at abipollokoff.com.