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Kenzie Allen
February 2023
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Kenzie Allen is a poet and multimodal artist. A descendent of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, she is the recipient of a 92NY Discovery Prize, an inaugural James Welch Prize for Indigenous Poets, and fellowships from Vermont Studio Center, Aspen Writers’ Foundation, and In-Na-Po. Her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming in Poetry magazine, Boston Review, Narrative magazine, The Adroit Journal, The Paris Review Daily, and other venues. Born in West Texas, she is currently an Assistant Professor in English and Creative Writing at York University in Toronto.



I used to have a depression

on the ring finger

of my right hand

from where I would crush

a pencil against it

while writing. You tell me

the body makes room

for our favorite ways, bones thicken

like pearls from the heft

of a child. The teeth will alter

their common alignment, to pocket

a pipe-stem, to mention

malnutrition. The twisted foot

betrays a man bent

in the mines—the chipped skull

is a keyhole to let angels in.

The pelvic girdle a vessel, widens,

billows at its sutures where

the male’s remains heart-shaped

and rigid. Were I left-

-handed, my right tibia

would be lighter and more slender.

Were I beaten enough, even this

would be written in my bones.

Originally published in Iowa Review



Pinked marble, ochre lapels,

this wedding chapel of petrified

small creatures gone dust to tar

to colossal river to rubble to

film grain clotted in the wallow.

I reach for you—twelve miles

as the crow flies—they call my neck

holy and treacherous, my veins

copper-ridden and boiling, see

my many points of interest,

name them, anchor a short-lived mine

to my upturned lip, accessible

by stagecoach and clever fingers

at coin driven viewfinders. Hot

rocky mess, broad broad, show me

with your arms how much of me

can't be held. How wounds deepen

the soil of me, how the oceans give way

to floods, lakes, a single river

which threads only where it can—

snake's back, scenic all the day long—

how when you drive away from here

14.4 megapixels won't do me justice,

you’ll say nothing really does it but

dipping in and experiencing it

for yourself, every purpled swelling

more luscious than the last.

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