Quintin Collins

Thieves in the Night

the sky settles                like an ocean                of blueberry

        juice squeezed on cosmos        too much light

pollution mires the stars                to see their glint

                still i know        they slosh and twinkle

        and beyond infinite space                You cup

Your hands ready to transfigure        


                                liquid night into curtain

        drawn wide        how you split Red Sea

thief in the night                to snatch souls

        of the chosen                invisible palm arched

to pincer through this peaceful evening        assailants

                also invisible        a string of robberies

        at gunpoint                        break ins

once our glovebox contents        scattered by morning

i triple click

key fob        grip        head swivel

to eye a mugger        stalking my blindspot

                slouch out of the parking lot

        intercept a rapture

of drunk Boston University undergrads        i digress

                yield to their revelry

                        heed a sedan and SUV

        cross the street                could it be now

You ease open atmosphere and spacescape

        laceration of heavenly light to tractor beam

                the righteous toward home        

i try not to fumble                 keys in the locks

                        thriller villains and gods

        punish lost dexterity                twist and push

the door admits        my body into the glow


                of the hallway light        a moth

my only companion        flickering illumination with shadows

gods        and        gunmen easy on their trigger fingers

Quintin Collins (he/him) is a writer, assistant director of the Solstice MFA in Creative Writing Program, and a poetry editor for Salamander. He is the author of The Dandelion Speaks of Survival and Claim Tickets for Stolen People, selected by Marcus Jackson as winner of The Journal's 2020 Charles B. Wheeler Prize. Quintin's other awards and accolades include a Pushcart Prize, the 2019 Atlantis Award from the Poet's Billow, and Best of the Net nominations.