Two Poems | Collin Callahan | Granta

Two Poems

Collin Callahan

‘He twists biblical spliffs. / Curtains warble in the television light.’ Two poems by Collin Callahan.

Richard and I Play with the Dead

the red tide has left us.
At his lips, the scooped eye of a fish

catches the starlight like a butterfly
knife opening a boy’s palm.

A smoking pasture of weekenders
with zilch left to lose

browse churro stands on the boardwalk.
The casino doors are guillotines.

The skyline is a hairless dog.
In our wake seagulls clatter like dented cans

strung to the exhaust pipe of a limousine –
its rear window: a shrinking rectangle.

A silhouette embrace. A sip of champagne.
A world map on a prison cell wall.






Thunderbird Inn

The desk lady repeats
herself like a telephone menu

as I diagram the fire
exits and security cameras.

The motel pool is cerulean.
The hot tub is out of order.

Richard squints in the reversal image
of himself. A little more.
I scissor his rattail

and sponge his neck.
We button our thrifted florals.
My tongue is a garden slug.

I flick cards at a soft banana
as Richard twiddles the antennas

for the evening weather report
like a forklift operator.

He twists biblical spliffs.
Curtains warble in the television light.

Each siren is a doom spiral.
The highway exhales like a horse.


Image © Jericl Cat

Collin Callahan

Collin Callahan was born in Illinois. His poems have appeared in Pleiades, Denver Quarterly, SLICE, Hobart, Carve Magazine, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. Collin holds an MFA from the University of Arkansas – where he was awarded the 2017 Walton Family Fellowship in Poetry – and is currently a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at Florida State University. He is the recipient of the 2021 Bat City Review Editors’ Prize in poetry.

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