Alison Stine

Planned Community, Southern Ohio


The woman you sometimes picture me

with posted photos: slaughtering a hog.


She’s a wolf, I’ve been told. Often


I picture myself in a bathtub of worms.

How to tell about small kindness: I am not


the sort of person to make an altar

of men. I am not the kind of person


to stand in the doorway of a motel,


my dress a beaded curtain. I put away sex

like a hatbox. I need nothing but a glow.


I get my fix from sleep and sugar.

I need no touch but a wing.


The thing I remember most


was the steaming

body laid open on a steel garage plank,


amid the ATVs and the open air.

Grit punks getting it done.


Because there is no sate without struggle.


I wait. You wait with plates.

The bamboo feels solid as silk


or scalded water.


In the photos, the hog was a rib pink blur:

the boys with knives—and the white air, rising.


Alison Stine‘s first novel Road Out of Winter was published in 2020 (MIRA/HarperCollins). Also the author of several books of poems, including Ohio Violence, her awards include an NEA Fellowship and a reporting fellowship from National Geographic. A longtime resident of Appalachian Ohio, she now lives in Colorado and writes for The New York Times and others. Her next novel, Trashlands, releases in October 2021.