My ragdoll decides my fate:
she says my love for him is soft
like a wet noodle handshake.
If I were you, she tells me,
I’d man up.
I’d stop pussy-footin’.
I’d seal the deal.
She lights a Winston
& pours Glen Elgin single malt
into a doll-sized tumbler.
It’s a typical Tuesday night:
The hours pass vacant, cautious, dignified.
What I’ve left unspoken forms
deep rivers in my waking,
deep rivers sing my dreams to sleep.
My doll positions an Elvis Costello record on the turntable
as she clips her difficult toenails.
From her perch on the bookshelf,
she grins at the polite distance that’s kept,
she grins at the words I’ll never say aloud.
Where do your thoughts come from, I ask.
Can you see the world, the truth
with your crooked button eyes?
She leans forward, tossing a nail clipping
toward my face. It lands on my lip.
I’d grow a pair, she continues.
I’d hit it & quit it.
Some plight between pride & passion
compels me to climb onto the bookshelf
& reach for her arm:
With that touch, my head goes limp,
my hands turn to cloth & it’s she
who jumps down, steps into my jeans,
& grabs my keys on her way out the door.
She says she’s going to find him
& kiss him till it hurts.
This poem was first published in Canyon Voices and in the chapbook, Along the Diminishing Stretch of Memory (Dancing Girl Press, 2014).
Christie Collins is an American poet based in Cardiff, Wales. She moved to Wales last year from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she taught full-time in the English Department at Louisiana State University in addition to working as a remote editorial assistant for Copper Canyon Press. In Cardiff, she is a doctoral candidate in Creative and Critical Writing at Cardiff University under the supervision of Richard Gwyn and Ailbhe Darcy. As part of her degree program, she also teaches creative writing workshops for the university. Her critical and creative work has been published in or is forthcoming in Kenyon Review Online, Entropy, Cold Mountain Review, Chicago Review of Books, Canyon Voices, Appalachian Heritage, Poetry South, Poetry Wales, Still: The Journal, Wicked Alice, So to Speak, and Reunion: The Dallas Review. Her chapbook titled Along the Diminishing Stretch of Memory was published in 2014 by Dancing Girl Press.
Erna Kuik is a Dutch photographer, visual artist, and writer. After graduating from the Artez Academy in 1992, her artwork was awarded the Gretha and Adri Pieck Prize, an award to encourage young, promising artists. Her work tends toward an expressionistic style, known for its strong lines in linocuts and its poetic content. She wrote and illustrated children's books about very creative hares published by Atlantie Verlag Switzerland and has published other work that features her photography and illustrations. Her art can be found in many private collections worldwide and is exhibited in museums like the Haags Gemeentemuseum in The Hague and Museum De Fundatie in Zwolle and in galleries most recently during Slow Art In Motion Zutphen, Weg van Kunst in Kampen, and Lingeprint Grafiekmanifestatie in Huissen in the Netherlands. She loves to be in her studio; the spirit of making fluid thoughts into sparkling crystals on paper keeps her going. Her book Zwei lange, lange Ohren received many good reviews and was nominated for the Luchs Award by die Zeit in Germany.
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