In the Cut


I remember you folded in half,

only your right side visible

in the kitchen doorway,

just enough to see your hand

on his hip, his arm

around your neck,

the passion in one eye.


I remember footsteps, yours and his,

on the steps, displacing air,

making me catch my breath,

causing twitters and whispers

from guests downstairs.


The night before, we walked

through wet London streets,

kissed at my door, your hands

on my hips, my arms around your neck,

passion in both eyes.


I forfeited my right to disappointment

when I put you back on the street,

watched 3 a.m. dark swallow you up.

Your interest no match for my self-sabotage.


When your note arrives two days later,

chiding me for not saying goodbye,

an ocean divides us.

I realize I should have unfolded you,

to read the whole message,

risk being cut in half.

Photo by Courtney Carmody






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About Author

Collin Kelley is the author of the American Library Association-honored poetry collection Render (2013, Sibling Rivalry Press) and Better To Travel, which will be reissued by Poetry Atlanta Press in 2015. Sibling Rivalry Press is also the publisher of his Venus Trilogy of novels Conquering Venus, Remain In Light and the forthcoming Leaving Paris. For more information, visit

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