Poems: Final Draft and Torn Cocoon

By Alison McBain




the dustjacket ripped

when he borrowed

my first edition

I am sorry he says

this was not the way

for endings


I wanted

I did, I wanted

you're not alone in wanting

I can't unfold the corners

cross out checkmarks

whitify highlights


Gorilla glue, I’ve tried

to tack the broken spine

like lemon and cream

curdles of separation


I'm talking about us


you're fourth behind her

now there's you

me, I'm in line somewhere—

perhaps last

always last

in acknowledgements


we watch words

bounce off the ceiling

rebound in raindrops

base narrative

background scratches

on the record


don't hate me, I hope

I hope you don't

hate me

when it's done


I'm talking about us






I see her

tawny eyes

lost in dreams,



from life’s stains.

I wonder


when did my

eyes waste their