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Alison Prine

No One Hurt Me Without Loving Me First

I was thinking of you

when I came across a pair of wings

submerged at the edge of the clear lake


without a body

joined by a bone

moving in the gentle waves

as if in flight


but without a body there is no bird

there is no memory


whether or not you are good

at forgiveness


is what I was thinking at the time

then about the shoulder bones

of a blackbird


the strength of certain memories

that move beneath the surface

where we hold

all of our desires

even the desire to hurt


do birds love the sky

or the shoreline that touches me

like someone else’s story


have you heard of a blackbird drowning

do you have dreams of flying


in mine it’s like swimming through air

it’s like saying goodbye to everyone at once

Alison Prine author photo - Alison Kelley.jpeg



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 in Ploughshares, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Five Points, Harvard Review, and Prairie Schooner among others. She lives and works in Burlington, Vermont. Visit her at

Bear Review


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