Ryan Collins

Periodically Unstable Elements



From space, we’re all millipedes

& somewhere my daughter is

watching the same ice I am fall

from a pink sky low enough to

poke a brief hole in w/ her finger

before it closes again like a Jell-O

mold, which like the storm-pink

sky is just in time for the holidays.

Some of us never take a holiday.

Some of us only want to spend a

little more time w/ our daughters,

time not shared only by clouds &

wi-fi & every-other weekends, or

at least when the weather permits.

Sometimes the weather permits no-

thing, not even holidays & then

we send out shovel trucks, sector

by sector, raking blue sky & neon

green & Himalayan pink salt to cut

the ice to slush & chase the slush

down storm drains where no colors

exist. There is no exit from a drain,

just as there is no exit from winter

besides spring, if you call that an exit.

The winter doesn’t care what we call

it, the thousand curses we shower on

local weathermen coast to coast.

‘Tis the season for pissing ice & snow

angels & streets that will be uncleared

until the feeling comes back into my

finger & I can poke a temporary hole

in the cloud, so I can play telephone w/

my daughter, ask her what she wants

me to make for her for breakfast, now

that the storm has blown over to the

east, now that we are on holiday break

& have more time than the time we are

usually allowed & all the salt dries white.


Recent poems by RYAN COLLINS have appeared in Asymptote, Ampersand Review, H_NGM_N, PEN Poetry Series, Pretty LIT, and Verse online. He is the curator/host of the SPECTRA Poetry Reading Series in Rock Island, IL, where he lives. His first poetry collection, A New American Field Guide & Song Book, is forthcoming from H_NGM_N Books.