Literary Arts | READ LOCAL First

Three Pieces by Poet Britt Allen

From everyone here at 15 Bytes: Happy LGBTQ+ Pride Month and welcome to our June installment of READ LOCAL First — the world’s most extensive repository of Utah-related poets and writers. Today, we are proud to introduce award-winning poet Britt Allen.

In May of 2020, Allen completed her Master of Arts degree in Literature and Writing at Utah State University. Nowadays, she teaches academic writing at her alma mater. Her creative interests include “the eroticism of violence in female confessional and lyric poetry.” Allen’s poems, driven by a sensitivity for voice, rely heavily on personal experience. John Lee Clark gave her poetry an Honorable Mention in 2020’s Utah Original Writing Competition. More recently, Fishing Line Press (Summer 2021) released her first chapbook, Harvest. Allen lives in northern Utah with her partner and rescue dog.

Happy Sirens

Our first apartment was kitty-corner to the Logan City Fire Department. The shriek of the fire engines could fill our basement home any time, echo off the concrete floors and half-painted ceiling without warning. Logan was a smaller town than most; sirens weren’t constant, but always shocking, live wires of emergency off to save someone else right fucking now. His family lived north and mine lived south: one of us lost. The wails yanked us from our cellaresque newlywed life, snapped at our heels as we smoked and walked the dog, slapped us awake in bed. The violence never started small, didn’t whimper before it was red-hot pissed. When it hit, it was already a climaxing scream.



The sun pours golden

yolk in you, Junebug.

Come morning our sheets

are runny with light,

pooling across our mouths

and kinked ankles. Rinse


your tongue in me—

this summer will boil

our bones to peach

gummies, but the simmering

burns sweet. Lick the warm

pollen from my cheek—


play the humming bee to my

lolling lily pink.



I kneel before my acrylic ghost, painted

by my husband’s hand. There is perfect

likeness in each cheek bone, blue

in the white dress from our wedding day.

Her arm is round as truth, no inch

of the ribcage slivered away. To prove

he knew my face so well he used real

paint instead of his digital pen, added

to love’s labor the weight of mistakes.

Though her ear is stunted, topaz swings

crystalline on flawless copper strings. In still life

she has no freckles, no wedding ring.

Her eyes are closed or she might see

a pulpy mirror in me, a small

sweatshirted thing on the floor.


She’s an apology. I can’t see

past his “don’t leave me” sheen,

his “look how much I love you” shine,

every stroke reminiscent of the strokes

he gave himself in videochats with other wives.


The portrait wasn’t ever about me.


For more information about poet Britt Allen, visit

For information about her chapbook, Harvest: ,


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