Three Poems / by Allison Gallagher

i. vague body

imagining myself as a sketch of a person
messy strokes around a vague outline
the details fill out when you kiss the space
between my neck and collarbone,

they fade when the woman at the grocery store
asks if “that will be all today, sir”

i’m tired of feeling broken by language
when it is the only safe place i’ve ever known;

wrapping myself up in its coat to feel secure,
digging its fingernails into my skin to feel held

surviving on the promise
some elusive cryptographic combination
could make things right

that i could articulate the things
words don’t exist for yet;
how having a body is exhausting

people assume my problem
is that i’m a woman trapped in a man’s body
when the problem is more like,
i’m trapped in a body

to become is to break yourself apart,
i remind myself each time i leave the house

it’s supposed to hurt this much




ii. morning body

a banana smoothie
with a crushed up estrogen pill
for a healthy body & soul

the sunlight lingers on my skin,
i swell and expand,
fresh emergent sapling - (i can become)
something beautiful (or
maybe I already am)

but when will i burst;
i wonder

o goddess,
please let me
stay in the light

o goddess,
please carve warmth
into my transient shape




iii. survival body

fresh bones like a makeshift sanctuary
built on the precipice of a bottomless pit

you breathe in and out, trigger
minor earthquakes on someone else’s
disputed territory

the red rock falls from the red rock face,
vestigial memories clung tight to a cliff wall
slow-motion nosedive into whatever oblivion
sits below

years later,
you make a home from what’s left
of those disaster relics; holding tight
to the things that make you whole




Allison Gallagher is a writer and poet based in Sydney, Australia. Their work has appeared on i-D, Overland, Scum Mag and Moonsick, among others. They tweet at @allisongallaghr.