top of page

The Neighborhood Only Returns in Fragments


Robin, ryegrass, trilevel, oak. As though a scene enshrined

as the subject of some great painting has come up missing,


and what remains is just a series of impressions. A hand

pressed to a stranger’s shoulder, almost embarrassed to be felt,


and what happens after: every day I must traverse my own

memory like a suburb full of awful roads while knowing


the patterns were arranged this way to serve another’s interest.

It all gets harder to believe in, the more I embellish, dressing up


the holes between the scent of skunk, the silent evergreens,

with junk words like there was, as in, because, the bits that freight


the plot into a strained cohesion. Who is it now that’s speaking,

and are you sure? The distance from my stories to their inception


is increasing, each an unmanned probe whose transmission

will one day cease, wandering in a night beyond all understanding.


Once upon a time, someone says, and immediately we begin

to build ourselves a habitable space inside their rhetoric,


a still life of perennials and garbage bins. O child, with autumn

jacket hanging off the stoop, the voice of disjunction has arrived


to shout down all the sense you’ve made of things. To preserve

these hours the way you see them now, you must invent a language


as inevitable as all that would unravel them: your jeans are Levi’s.

The stray cat is a tabby. The chalk house you’ve inscribed into the walk


is ornamenting concrete that the winter will reduce to rubble.


 


ANDREW COLLARD is the author of Sprawl (Ohio University Press, 2023), winner of the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, AGNI, Best New Poets, and elsewhere. He currently lives in Grand Rapids, MI, with his son, where he teaches writing at Grand Valley State University.





Comentários


bottom of page