To Become Estranged

by Frankie Collins

I shift my weight from right to left.

Feet on cold green linoleum,

my toes curling to keep balance.


Two words, “he left,”

so small and quick,

sit in my belly, rocking,

back and forth.

Not like the bowling balls

that made-for-TV movies

would have you imagine,

more like the loose change

or linty cough drops

at the bottom of our mother’s purses.


It took one frigid day and five thousand,

eight hundred, and twenty eight miles

to do the quick work of slicing,



the thirteen thousand, three hundred,

and seven days spent building,




The nothing left

can’t be left.