If I had Guilt
by Allison Collins
If I had guilt
I would unzip the suit of my skin,
undo the hooks, the eyes,
cull out the soft matter,
dismantle the bones and soak
those relics in a bath of bleach, clattering and sudsy.
And, like a toddler heavy with building blocks
or a clumsy surgeon in that game,
the one with outsized tweezers and silly buzzing organs,
I would rehome them,
shrug back into my flesh
and show you my shiny clean.
But I don’t.
A friend told me all I write is longing.
More, always more
amid all this scarcity.
In bruising moments I soothe myself
with Wildean defenses:
The only way to rid yourself of temptation,
is to yield to it. What’s a girl to do?
Think, too, of a bumper sticker I saw,
commanding: Do what you like, like what you do
beside a smiling stick figure. Be more like him.
All my life I’ve found ways to render bad behavior
With justifications made pruning shears
(one blade lexicon, one aphorism)
I snip away the guilt I do not feel,
leave no root-space for remorse.
Easier, then, to cultivate the marrow-rot,
let it breed a fertile fretwork,
all hanging vines draping joints and soft tissue
until I’m full-blooming.
As if I could ever be full.
Allison Collins is editor of Upstate Life Magazine and a writer with The Daily Star and Kaatskill Life Magazine. Her work has been published in Blast Furnace Press, Havok by Splickety Publishing, Shark Reef, Easy Street, Literally Stories, The Ravens Perch, E-Ratio, California Quarterly, The Banyan Review, The Phare, Black Fox Literary Magazine, New Contexts 2: An International Collection of New Poetry & Prose and New Contexts 4, Evening Street Press & Review, La Presa, and Front Range Review.
Allison lives in upstate New York with her family.