Ohio Violence

Alison Stine
MFA, 2002
University of North Texas Press, 2009

Imagine you step into a vintage clothing store in a new city. You see: the usual mix of leather jackets, crinoline, motorcycle t-shirts, a yellow sundress, a poison ring. Only all of these clothes belong to Alison Stine, and she's there, saying, "Try this-- it'll fit you better" or "This shirt I've never even worn." As you stand in front of the full-length mirror, tags dangling from your sleeves, you start to see, slowly, what Stine sees: A bullied girl in a science classroom; a sleight-of-hand trick in a dark auditorium; a teenager running in snow from a party.

Alison Stine loans us her poems like costumes to try or weapons to borrow. Like magic tools, they carry a risk of sight, of quick travel. Like hand-me-downs, they bring an expectation of being further passed along when the next celebration, the next neighbor kid, calls for them. Second-hand, they have a fleece comfort. Spell-dark, they arrive with a falcon's grip.