Other People's Sadness by Alison Prine


I don’t believe in psychological science
though I see a need for counting:

1) The flattening out and closing in of the sky.
2) How people need to be seen, yet are so unseeing.
3) A sparrow singing inside the airport terminal.
4) The dial which, you discover too late, turns only one way.

Do you see anything the color that matches
what you are trying to rid yourself of?

Chartreuse shining in a glass?
Would it help if we all took a sip?

Is there a sound –
tires turning slowly in the dirt,
the bronchial cough of a stranger?

5) That open water feeling.


ALISON PRINE’s debut collection of poems, Steel, was chosen by Jeffrey Harrison for the Cider Press Review Book Award and was released in January 2016. Her poems have appeared in The Virginia Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Prairie Schooner, among others. She lives in Burlington, Vermont, where she works as a psychotherapist.