Andrew Collard


(Rochester Hills, MI)

I used to think it was a theme park      you were building, 
a haven detached from the rioting earth
to hold us:      the components come by ship, some from 
complexes strung with suicide nets,
then by big rig,      to arrive here, where curated yards 
fill with gazebos, matching patio sets,
and marble Chihuahuas,      where even the Clinton River 
has begun collecting the discarded
carts and amplifiers.    I am tired of your dead-end visions, 
willful and incomplete, your countless 
amusements that may outlive me.      Why is it
the moments I feel most at ease 
are spent before a register?      At the Bean & Leaf, say, 
shelling out singles to refill my cup, or 
the BP on the corner,      buying donuts with a bridge card,
which I’m told, to prevent misuse, 
the cashier must swipe himself.     This evening, I want 
to put my hand through the windowpane 
of the nearest storefront      and make of it a memory, to push 
a cupped hand down its throat and pull 
the stifled thrush out, breathing.      O Autotopia, how long 
will you allow me to loiter here, penniless, 
among your children,     before your patience grows thin
and you escort me from the premises?

Andrew Collard’s poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Best New Poets, AGNI, and elsewhere. He lives in Grand Rapids, MI, and is a PhD candidate at Western Michigan University. He is currently the poetry editor for Third Coast.