Alison Prine

Two poems from Alison Prine’s Ghostwriting My Autobiography

followed by a note on the author

Coming Out

I knew when the small plane I was riding in
touched down in the fog.

I knew watching my stepmother’s hands
work the rock garden behind the house.

I didn’t want the circle to close.
I couldn’t see myself in the dress, so shaven.

I knew because I loved to move through water –
the way it yielded
the way it took me in its mouth.

I knew watching our fox hound
when he slipped out of the leash –
how he tore after a scent down our shady street.

I just wanted to sleep in the wild strawberries
with my chopped off hair.


Walking home that day I pressed
my face into the fresh snow

piled on a pine bough
so I could see the print of myself asleep.

I met her at my house. Down
in the basement I put a record on.

I lay beside her on the floor.
I touched her hair.

There in the contours
and shadow we recognized each other.

Our bones nearly grown,
she closed the door.

The taste of cherry chapstick,
the clench, the release.

Upstairs my stepmother’s wooden sandals
clicked across the kitchen floor.

The dryer buzzed, then stopped.
The music uncoiled and filled in.

Everything worth doing
is worth being terrified by.

In the static silence she reached out
and dropped the needle to the groove.

That became the refrain
we couldn’t turn away from –

like the threshold and the decade
and the nameless thing we’d done.


Alison Prine’s debut collection of poems, Steel (Cider Press Review, 2016) was named a finalist for the 2017 Vermont Book Award. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, Field and Prairie Schooner among others. She lives in Burlington, Vermont where she works as a psychotherapist. Visit her at

Coming Out first appeared in Hunger Mountain; Hush first appeared in Colorado Review.