Christine Collins

Christine Collins moved to Cardiff, Wales, U.K. in 2017 from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where I taught full-time in the English Department at Louisiana State University in addition to working as a remote editorial assistant for Copper Canyon Press. Here in Cardiff, I am a doctorate student in Creative Writing at Cardiff University. As part of my degree program, I also teach creative writing workshops for the university. My critical and creative work has been published or is forthcoming in Kenyon Review Online, Entropy, Cold Mountain Review, Chicago Review of Books, Canyon Voices, Appalachian Heritage, Poetry South, Still: The Journal, Wicked Alice, So to Speak, and Reunion: The Dallas Review. My chapbook titled Along the Diminishing Stretch of Memory was published by Dancing Girl Press in 2014. 




So many have asked

when I knew it was over.


They want to know how to

to look for it in their own

near-dead relationships.


They want to hear a foolproof

equation as if I can say:

Look to his skin: Look for

the horsehead mole

that sprouts three hairs.


They don’t want to hear

that the only revelation

was a dozen tiny pebbles

in our shoes each time

we tried to move forward.


That we only knew

we couldn’t continue.


They don’t want to hear

that one significant revelation

never came. That I still look for it.


That I still wonder

if we did our best.


That letting each other go

wasn’t because love had faded

but was instead from loving well –


the cut-throat kind of love

that will injure in order to save.






Now that the us that used to be

is over, over and placed aside

like a pressed flower in a bible,

I’m tempted to ask am I better?

But, just as I think the question,

another seismic shift cracks my skin.

A part of me breaks off onto the floor.

Like a split fruit, I will never be whole

again. An object in motion tends to stay

in motion. The science of my body

actuates the laws of physics. I stay

in motion: breaking, willing

the parts back together, carrying

myself in my own arms as one

carries firewood to a furnace.

I carry myself from one fear

or folly to the next. One pill,

one meditation mantra to the next.

Still, I shouldn’t have thought to ask

am I better? That’s what you would

ask, even now.