April is National Poetry Writing Month. In celebration of poets everywhere, and to encourage those who are just embarking on their literary journey, I will be posting poetry (not mine) each day for the month of April. Please take a look and enjoy this special art.
Collin Kelley is the author of the novels Conquering Venus and Remain In Light, which was a 2012 finalist for the Townsend Prize for Fiction. His poetry collections include Better To Travel, Slow To Burn, After the Poison and the newly-published Render. Kelley is also the author of the short story collection, Kiss Shot. A recipient of the Georgia Author of the Year Award, Deep South Festival of Writers Award and Goodreads Poetry Award, Kelley’s poetry, essays and interviews have appeared in magazines, journals and anthologies around the world. He lives in Atlanta, GA.
www.siblingrivalrypress.com (publisher of Render)
Mr. Rogers Made Me Fat
It was after Make-Believe,
when I was vulnerable.
He made the peanut butter
jar appear on his kitchen table
between the Museum-Go-Round
and Daniel Striped Tiger’s Clock,
dipped in a spoon, lifted it
to his mouth like sacrament,
proclaimed it good.
Wishing for Someplace Else,
I wanted to please him,
so I scampered to the kitchen,
climbed the counter to the top
shelf and found my first addiction.
As the cold metal touched
my tongue and salty sweet
the roof of my mouth, I was hooked.
The empty jars would stretch
to the moon now, Fred is dead,
and the magic Trolley still runs
on schedule, perpetually empty.
It disappears into a hole in the wall
faster than Lady Elaine Fairchild’s
and I’m too tall and wide to follow.
Raise the Titanic
At the bottom of my old toy box
the Titanic is wrecked, listing
between Big Bird and Bionic Woman
red and black paint faded,
stacks cracked, masts long gone.
The night I built her, I bit down
on the crusted glue tip, sealed my lips,
and while my mother screamed in horror,
my father grabbed a toothbrush
to scrape my mouth clean of poison.
The model would never float. It ran aground
on my dresser, until it went nose down
into toy graveyard, littered with the forgotten
and outgrown, settled into long dark.
But now that Lillian Asplund is dead at 99,
only five when she huddled in a lifeboat,
her father and brothers sinking un-cinematically
into icy Atlantic, I hold my breath and dive
into the sea of basement damp,
bring the ship back to surface.
I can almost see Lily waiting on deck,
breath hovering like a ghost,
deciding she will never speak of this again,
will disappear into the ether, take memories
hidden in drenched pockets into next lifetime
to be stored in a cool, dry place.
From this depth, I can see my father
looking down at me, his face rippling
in the dank air, smiling, telling me
to go on ahead and not be afraid,
that he’ll be on the next boat.