Quintin Collins

all-american black body

body broke but body builds
mountain from matchsticks body
burned but body bend time
’round a wrist body bend words

worth of hurt but body writes
signs of new cancer body
crack creak shrink split rot
but rock bend low for soul

music yes my body be
flesh yes bone yes my body be
sinew yes a lot of atoms body be
adam if you ask god body be

slouched out my bed my body be
in america like paper in a house fire


How We Work This Soil

Our fingers latched to foreign
earth to coax this country
stolen to growth. We manifested
your destiny elbow-deep in dirt.

Our wrists sprouted shackles.
We could not unhinge
our limbs from this land,
bodies prostrate for grain

or God. You don’t want testimony
of your wrongdoing. We raise
the volume on our speakers
nestled in trenches we till. In time,

the roots steeple sidewalks.
Sage blooms in our gardens.


Does God Hesitate?

In a rabbit’s eye,
the world curves. A storm
approaches. The rabbit
halts. Unable to fight
thoughts of wrangling
the rabbit as a testament
of my speed and strength,
I halt. How much time
before the sky offers
a testament of God’s
power? My hands wrench
to snatch this animal
just so I could say I could.
It doesn’t run. The rain
clouds dangle their might
above the city, the air
gelatinous. I creep
toward the rabbit. A drop
of rain. Thunder echoes
—wind a hush in the trees.
Hands slack. Before disaster,
does God hesitate, question
motives before throttling
the earth with a flood?
Sensing no threat in me,
the rabbit hops away. I open
an umbrella to shield myself
against the rain, retreat home
before lightning reaches for me.


Collins, Quintin by Jasen SousaQuintin Collins (he/him) is a writer, editor, and Solstice MFA Program assistant director. His work appears in many print and online publications, and his first full-length collection of poems, The Dandelion Speaks of Survival, is forthcoming from Cherry Castle Publishing in 2021. His second collection of poems, Claim Tickets for Stolen People, selected by Marcus Jackson as winner of The Journal’s 2020 Charles B. Wheeler Prize, is forthcoming from The Ohio State University Press/Mad Creek Books in 2022. See more of his work on qcollinswriter.com.