The Unkindest Kiss

by on Jan 15, 2011 in Poetry | 0 comments

By Mike Allen

The loop of her embrace
has no beginning.
Radium poison rings her eyes,
her teeth bright and sharp as prisms.
Her kiss wolfs down my tongue, my jaw,
her scales against my skin
flay me alive

Outside the muting veil
your memories of before
stretch faces, hands, places
against the surface
yet only the smallest particles
seep through, soul traces
reduced to half-life

Every part of her
saws into me,
another slit serrated open
with each stroke

You sought her out,
caressed her constant forward flow,
seduced her
(so you thought)
convinced her
that once loosed from her arrow
you could serve her
as no thing of mere duration could

When we begin again
I deny
(and can never defy the knot)
her coarsening skin,
the urgent click-tick of her breath,
how her fingers fuse like fins,
ivory rows behind rows sprouting,
glimpsed through the window
of her parted lips

Outside time’s flow
you never paused to wonder
at how quickly she agreed,
how demurely she encouraged
your hands?

Inside the bubble,
inside the abyss,
I am seabed sustenance,
my scars peeled
to grow back again,
a new limb budding to replace
each one torn off and swallowed.

More from Mike Allen:

Mike Allen works as the arts and culture columnist for the daily newspaper in Roanoke, Va., where he lives with his wife Anita, a goofy dog, and two mischievous cats. In his spare time he does a ridiculous number of things, including editing the critically-acclaimed anthology series Clockwork Phoenix and the long-running poetry journal Mythic Delirium. His own poetry has won the Rhysling Award three times, and his fiction has been nominated for the Nebula Award. He’s also active in local improv theater, where he’s often asked to provide the voice of an Ominous Narrator or play the part of Satan. You can find his blog at and his website at



  1. The Button Bin | Apex Magazine - […] The Unkindest Kiss […]
  2. DESCENT INTO LIGHT: Mike Allen’s Home Page » Blog Archive » First poem of 2015: Sad Wisps of Empty Smoke - […] all in the world.   (For the curious, the first of the series to see print was “The Unkindest…
  3. DESCENT INTO LIGHT: Mike Allen’s Home Page » Blog Archive » The last Claire-dare poem and a look back - […] “The Unkindest Kiss,” Apex Magazine 20, April 28, 2011 […]

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