An award-winning photojournalist once told me
anyone can learn to take a good photo.
It’s not technique.
to a riot breaking out on an angry street.
to a woman who has just lost her finger
climbing over a chain-link fence
crossing the border into Texas.
to the dusty rubble,
and everything beneath,
moments after a bomb
has incinerated a home.
to a sun-washed bedroom
where a seven year old child
has just died of cancer
in his mother & father’s arms.
Poetry is not just metaphor and meter,
allegory and alliteration.
Poetry is access:
to the secret hobbies of protozoans.
to the color of chlorophyll.
to the lover you secretly yearn for
but know will destroy you.
to enough magic to bring
your cat back from a velvet
bag of ashes embroidered
with his name.
A poem can only be
what it can access.
Cortney Collins is a poet living in Longmont, CO. A four-time winner of Fort Collins’ First Friday Poetry Slam at The Bean Cycle, her work has been published by South Broadway Ghost Society, Amethyst Review, Devil’s Party Press, Back Patio Press, 24hr Neon Mag, The Naropa Vagina Monologues Zine, and is forthcoming in Tiny Spoon Lit Mag. During these strange and surreal times, she hosts a weekly poetry virtual open mic, Zoem. She shares a home with her beloved cat, Pablo, and tries to eat just the right amount of kale.
This poem is from our first print collection
of poetry, “Thought For Food”, an anthology
benefiting Denver Food Rescue. To support
our fundraiser, please visit this link.