Megan Collins

All Our Pretty Poets

    for Sylvia and Anne

They built their own gas chambers
out of household things. Two of the kids
were in the playroom; two of the kids
were mostly grown up.

Death was their boy. They liked his black clothes,
his skeletal physique.
Courting him like schoolgirls with a crush,
they wrote his name into many margins.

Their names make cameos
in movies and TV shows�
in cracks about using the oven
to calm a chill, or in theories
of what it takes to be their kind.

That�s how we want them�
stuck to their graves like the names themselves.
But the poems say:

And the truth they now know is
death can do a lot for a girl�s reputation.
But the poems say:
Give us your bones,
and we�ll make them into bodies.

Like cockroaches, they will not go away.

Love was not the answer; it was an anecdote
they never grew tired of telling.
Mother love. Guilty love.
Love that electrifies.

Megan Collins

MEGAN COLLINS received her MFA from Boston University. She teaches creative writing at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, as well as literature at Central Connecticut State University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in many journals, including 3Elements Review, Linebreak, Rattle, Off the Coast, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Toad.

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