Kelly Collins is a young poet who lives in Oregon and struggles with bipolar disorder. She spends most of her time painting and writing. For more of her work follow her at

A Prose Poem

By Kelly Collins


The coffee looks burnt, a thick residue filming on the sides of my cup. I’m drinking it black now, the milk in the fridge is sour. I cannot abide the harsh artificial light of super markets, nothing which could illuminate this feeling, for it would swallow the light with a straw. All the fruit is rotting on the counter tops while the shelves in the fridge look more and more like bones picked clean. My cupboards hold only broken dishes; I have shattered on the floor. I look at the urban decay and think of myself. Consider it as a performance piece, a grand scale self-portrait.

This is not comforting.

I consider un-leaving you again. I consider the nine times I’ve left and what that means. The eight times I handed you back your key. Which is love? Which is hate? And to whom? I think about how you must be at the bus station, waiting for the customary phone call. You must be smiling. You think this is a joke, I’m in a mood, I’m up to old tricks. My chest flares anger and I hush it, glancing around at the yellowing walls. Have they heard me? I shake with the fear of it. I consider un-leaving you in the interest of even numbers, in the interest of appeasing the walls. The walls want you back because they ache to be called home. I ache in a similar way.

I’m jarred as the telephone rattle rings. I watch it intently, muscles tensed. I do not answer it. I think how you must now be frowning. It starts up again. I crawl to the end of the room, rip the telephone jacks from the wall. It dies with a little hum. I carry that hum in my throat over the next week, but I always remember to lock the doors, even in the daylight.