A.J. Collins

But to say

first something about the shoes wouldn’t be right.

The whole thing started with sunrise, getting there,  

a broken fog sifting birch limbs, an owl tucked, full of shrews,

with floating a pontoon down the Pactolus to shoot mallards,


when a pair of legs rose stark beside a half-built beaver dam.

The toes were grey and nailless.


I was scraping along the brackish flats, looking for something to shove off of,

and nudged the white-haired boy from beneath the branches,

his ears clogged with silt. The shoes were found a while later, by then


the hollow in me having filled up and left, leaving what?

Laces untied, sitting on the bank beside some cypress roots.




“But to say” first appeared in Blue Mesa Review #17.