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Lisa Allen

Party Line

In the first house I remember, my father forced me to eat 

fried bologna smothered in tomato sauce until I threw up.

Melamine plate—white rimmed

with blue roses, bluer leaves—

acid blooming

in my mouth.

His yelling, the lift

of his belt.

Ruffled yellow curtains, the rotary wall-mounted phone —wallpaper, maybe?

But I loved the kink of the phone cord, twirled 

the rubbery coil around my fingers like princess curls. We dialed four numbers

to reach anyone else in town & sometimes we caught strangers’ conversations

when we held the receiver to our ears. 

Party line, they called it.

It’s called respect, he said.

Mom from the sink: just eat it already    you know 

            he’s going to win.

authorphoto - Lisa Allen.jpeg

Lisa Allen is a cross-genre writer living and working in suburban Kansas City, Kansas. Her work has appeared most recently in South85 Journal, Anti-Heroin Chic, The Normal School, and River and South Review. as well as three anthologies. She holds MFAs in Creative Nonfiction and Poetry, both from The Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program, where she was a Michael Steinberg Fellow. She was a Finalist for the Best of the Net Anthology, 2023, and has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is a co-founder & director, with Rebecca Connors, of the virtual creative space The Notebooks Collective, as well as a founding co-editor of the anthology series Maximum Tilt.

Bear Review


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