Perception/Perceived by Cortney Collins



They lie in art class about lines that travel in angular vectors, determined to reach an infinitesimal


Perspective is overrated, a pallid way to make sense out of mist, a way
to make sagebrush anemic and manageable.

A view from the inside of a wild creature’s eye
sees not one aging tree at a time, not
one cottonwood grove rustling and
stretching its dendrites over the bank of a river, but each vein of a leaf in its immediacy, in concert

with the slowing movement of glucose at
each joining, each decision made at a juncture.

This is not perspective, but an encounter with
a mosaic that draws a panoramic vision out of each shard of glass. It is the birth of more than one ghost from a single body, the turning of
more than one blade on a spinning windmill.

There is no perspective in anything blurred or fading, not a lakebed sloping towards its depths nor a feather on the embowed neck
of a heron. Perspective cannot deflect anguish nor embrace ecstasy; it cannot live in the center of vortices or the heart of supercells.

How strange that we should learn to mimic reality without understanding reality at all.


author photo

Cortney Collins holds a B.A. in Religious Studies and a law degree, both from the University of Arizona in Tucson. Her poems have been published by South Broadway Ghost Society, Devil’s Party Press, and others. She was a March 2019 Tupelo Press 30/30 volunteer poet, and co-facilitates a weekly poetry workshop for persons on probation in conjunction with Speakout! at Colorado State University.  A native of Nebraska, Cortney lives in Northern Colorado with her beloved cat Pablo. She loves the sight of Orion hanging low in the night sky in the winter, and Rocky Mountain thunderstorms in the summer.

(Pronouns: she/her)