In my cupboard is a collection of coffee mugs, designed in the eighties,

sold at tourist stands and second hand stores. Hairline-fractured

ceramics of soon to be submerged skylines: HOUSTON

in red script over the outline of a city

the future will dive to strip copper from. I live now

in a house nestled in a city nestled in fields of wheat, corn, and soy.

Far from the coasts I imagine a connection to the ocean

like someone in a long distance relationship. We aren’t together enough

for me to construct it as a subject. It’s beautiful mostly in its potential

to consume, like all the great romances. Here in the middle

the biome shifts faster than anywhere, but the land stays where I leave it.

I was born with a mouth of spring-thaw earth flecked with arsenic

and red clover and maybe there is a sea cliff somewhere

in my blood but fear is what roots me. To love and imagine only the worst,

dream of my dog trapped on a roof after the flood, is just like me.

I don’t even have a dog. I keep sketches of cities

I’ll never know: A watercolor of deco neon-sign glow in smooth walled Miami,

fuzzy photo of New Orleans’ feather-strewn streets, postcards

from a Manhattan gallery with a red rotary phone on a pedestal that calls dead poets,

a print of the ship-shaped Amsterdam museum tilting into the break.

Mair Allen is a writer living in Minneapolis, MN. Currently an MFA candidate in Poetry at Antioch University, their work can be found in Kithe, Oroboro, and Aurora. They placed first in the Mikrokosmos 2020 poetry competition.