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R. A. Allen: By Reason of Insanity

Art by Jack Real 2022

By Reason of Insanity


by R. A. Allen


                    After Poe after Gein                                


                  Cut the topsoil

                  and shovel six feet.

                  This disinterment is

                  condign justification

                  for a bedsheet rope

                  out of Taunton State.


                  My fingertips

                  like clawpoints

                  pierce the parchment

                  of your once-

                  wattled neck,



                  My sinews and veins—

                  an interstate system

                  connecting the

                  scab-towns that

                  adorn my forearms

                  so vibrantly.


                  Ah, to dig up

                  an old friend

                  after so many

                  years—my second

                  greatest pleasure.



“By Reason of Insanity” originally appeared in The Violet Hour in 2016.



R. A. Allen's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in the New York Quarterly, RHINO, B O D Y, The Penn Review, The Los Angeles Review, Cloudbank, The Hollins Critic, and in the anthology Celestial Musings. He has nominations for The Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net 2020. His fiction has been published in The Literary Review, The Barcelona Review, PANK, The Los Angeles Review, and Best American Mystery Stories 2010, among others. He lives in Memphis by the Mississippi. More at https://bodyliterature.com/2020/02/17/r-a-allen/ 

Originally from Bronx, New York, Jack Real works as a plumber in New Jersey. When he’s not snaking pipes, he likes to have a few beers and listen to Classic Rock with his childhood friend, fellow Yellow Mama artist Jack Pepper.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2022