Ryan Collins

[This is a map for you to read in the flaming]


This is a map for you to read in the flaming

Wreckage of the near future, the present

Passed into ash. Having knives is not being

Able to carve & what does it matter if this

This is all one big New American gunfight?

The Ides of March comes but once a year—

It’s more the rest of the days seeking a way

To find us into graves, to burn every book

& crane & constitution from Hampton Roads

To your doorstep. So little moonlight left to

See here. So little reason to speak the heart

Into the present when it’s all set to burn or

Flood. So little to carve out of ash. I cannot

Give you anything but the skin off my hands,

Smoke out of the after, blood on a white shirt.


Ryan Collins is the author of A New American Field Guide & Song Book (H_NGM_N Books, forthcoming) and several chapbooks, most recently Where the Wind Bends Backwards (w/ Erin M. Bertram). His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Another Chicago Magazine,  Asymptote, Ampersand Review, H_NGM_N, PEN Poetry Series, Pretty LIT, Southern Indiana Review, Verse online, and elsewhere. He curates the SPECTRA Poetry Reading Series in Rock Island, IL where