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Poem, 12.1.20 (Deadline Blues)

How badly I want to write
you something new
But all year long it’s been the same
Poems, over and over

The pine branches look like thin ribs again
the spruces in their robes that drape 
The pond like hammered silver, again
flinging the light off tiny waves
The hens move in one bob still again
they gather at the fence in trailing shape

And will it always feel like the chilled spring,
when they sent us packing?

As I was driving back on I-95,
the raindrops huge slow and hard,
I did see something new from my car
a black knot of birds exploded 
right when one raindrop hit so loud 
I thought I could hear the flock breaking apart


How badly I want to write 
you something true
But if I didn’t live this out 
someone else would —

Just pulling on a loose thread again,
to fray a pattern or fix a stitch
Time feels like a hem, again
 and pain is fabric caught in the clip,
sew machine running up seams, again, 
 bunching them up, hearing them split

Will you always do them like you did me,
 setting up for tailored dread?

Well, I saw Bunny in the window 
And I tell you I almost called out 
 lady, wearing his clothes 
 won’t make you his baby
You must dress yourself, can’t dress no one else,
 can’t dress for two, hung up like a coatroom
But I know how it feels to look nice in costume

How badly I want to write
you something rude
But if I start ragging on him
Soft love tut-tuts me

Around and inside me, again 
— the stretch of silence, counting penalty
Fastened tight, rocking slight, again
— defer, defer blame, defer decision to infinity
Breath, felt and held, again
 — withdrawal, a weapon, and softening, my currency 

Will I at least get back my simple heat
 now that nobody’s juking me?

 Suppose it did come rather easy
 to breathe with Cas on a roof on Dwight 
swapping selves in broad daylight,
And snowy Noah came soliciting, 
readily enough, bold joyful pressing, 
Oh, once I’d kissed Kathleen a sec
 for days I couldn’t get 
 her waking up naked out of my head, 
Then this dream of you looking seedy 
 sucking a cigarette, making me queasy

How badly I want to write, 
 you something new
but I mirror a body 
 of work been here twenty years

My breasts in ellipse like bells again
ringing when I sit up and settling apart,
arranged on my chest, whole bells again 
competing with my shoulders for Most Graceful Rounded Part
My mind is mirror-manifest again
 and when I move, it moves, and when I jump, it starts

Will I get by looking like this
 won’t I ever have something to make?

Well, I tried whittling in the park
The wood was lightweight from my yard 
I cut away a handle of three shapely knots
When I got to the basin of my spoon
 the wood revealed its rot, and I 
 can’t do much but strain soup
Got a nice spoon that can’t serve or scoop. 


How badly I want to write
you something new
But all year long it’s been the same
Poems, over and over

The pines the pond the farm the hens
The seam the stitch the fraying ends
The breath the dark the mouth the bed
The breast the mind the heart the rest

— Sophie Kyle Collins is a junior in Benjamin Franklin College.

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