Tyler S. Collins


Mountains surrounded the land
like family around a casket—
Sugar maples were towering funeral bouquets 
that glowed red like torches guiding
the lurching river of cars
up the driveway to the tune of a 
hound howling hymns. 

Gravel dust hung like cigarette smoke
and swirled into tiny tornadoes
as casserole women walked through,
The spring of the rust-chewed door 
pig squealed as a black-tied man
led the ladies to the kitchen.

I hid from the commotion by standing near the fireplace,
and eyeballed a bowl of walnuts sitting on the coffee table.
I remembered cracking them as a kid 
but never eating them—
His pissed off tobacco tongue would bark
about wastefulness,
and my face would grow to match the flame.

As an apology
I decided to pick one up to crack and eat,
but they were all black with rot.


Tyler S. Collins is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University's English MA program, and obtained his BA in English (with a poetry emphasis) at the University of the Cumberlands. He has published work in Kudzu, Pensworth, and Still: The Journal.


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