by Keshe Chow.
This is a piece that creeps up on you.
On its surface, it’s a sultry, seductive piece, with the seedy undertones of a cheap motel. It takes you on a journey; from the darkness of death in the first sentence through testaments to both religion and sex, Marlo Collins doesn’t lead you through this poem by the hand. She yanks you through the stanzas with the loosened belt of a bathrobe, strokes your hair, tells you everything will be okay, then stick a sly knife in your gut.
The piece sways between pain and hope, hope and pain, then ends on pain. And toward the end, one gets the sense of someone who aches, who feels empty and rejected. Collins makes you feel like the protagonist, “with empty pockets and holes filled”. That is, until the last line, when the fourth wall is broken, and you can’t tell who is who anymore.
Powerful stuff, and so deftly done.