Your Other Perfect Lover

Christine Diane Allen

Letter to J.D.*


Absent, hidden, silent, separate, secret:

your other the perfect lover. You ask

what one does when one trembles—

what initiates the crack, the crevice

the flow; who apprehends this difference—

What is it that makes you tremble?

A longtime fawn, I really want to say

it’s the shining white of night, the black

cubbyholes of day, it’s the foot let loose,

the hand that disappears. Sadly, elusion

eludes me. Rather, it’s the wine that drafts

my tongue to betray my secrets, my hands

to resist restrain. It’s the fall night that smells

like a field of onions, the winter morning

that swims like a fish. It’s the irrepressible

past, the memory that threatens to remain—

black with rot, blue with flame, the desire

for that other imperfect lover: ever present,

speaking in tongues, lost and found and

lost again, imagined still then written down.

* From Jacques Derrida, The Gift of Death, “Whom to Give to (Knowing Not to Know),” pp. 53-55. Chicago, London: University of Chicago Press 1995.

Christine Diane Allen authored The Arc and the Sediment, a novel (Utah State University Press 2007), which won a best-novel competition and best book-length work publication prize from the Utah Arts Council as well as a silver IPPY and honorable mention from the James Jones First Novel Competition. Her short-fiction collection There’s Death in the Balloon won best collection of short fiction and bridesmaid-variety commendations from the Drue Heinz, the St. Lawrence Book Award, and the Lorian Hemingway, among others. Likewise her poetry collection, Multiple Choice Questions, won second place from the Utah Arts Council. She just finished a doctorate in creative writing at the University of Utah, where she got an MFA and later taught writing and finished a hybrid memoir-novel-codex titled Spolia. She has two great daughters and some semi-surly cats. She runs an editing business…sometimes.

Sara Watkins
This Isn't About My Snake Plant

Christine Diane Allen
About That School of Dreams