Allison Seay's TO SEE THE QUEEN

Nick Ripatrazone

In Liliana, the first section of Allison Seay's debut collection To See the Queen, the word “figment” appears enough to create a recursive rhythm. Typically appended to “of the imagination,” the word feels lost without the phrase, and is thus perfect fodder for poetry. Seay’s figment is malleable. It is first Liliana, but a ghost-self, something to be seen only if “I am still enough.” That figment “vanishes, / as God does,” but “returns in a different form — / this time as an avalanche, a ledge of snow, slipping / from the roof of a warehouse into / even more snow.” The narrator will tell this figment, this woman, this God that “slipping off / into some indistinguishable state” is “one way of living.” To live as a figment is to be without fixed form.


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