Colin Winnette

An Army Arrives, as We Always Thought It Would

An army arrives, as we always thought it would.
This is wartime it declares. We’re hungry for honor and chili and cigarettes.
I enlist so I can gain control of my destiny.
I am going to die for something real I tell you.
I am going to die in a high quality way.
I am exploded by mines for five years straight, and it is incredibly painful.
When it’s over, I find it hard to explain what I have been through.
I go home and things are different.
You’ve been a mountain this whole time, just up the lane from where we lived.
I cannot get you to speak to me. Your peak blooms these little ferns, and a clover patch.
It does not make sense.
You’ve got an army of tiny beetles, feeding on your leaves.
They are covered in these little white lines that sort of look like lightning.

The 2012 Throat Competition

You enter the 2012 Throat Competition six months in advance.
To train you fast as much as possible only drinking honey, water, and lemon.

You’ve heard stories about the surgeons who do the cutting.
Theyre nice guys, you say, with families, daughters, dogs, horses.

I pick you up one night and take you deep into the woods.
You tell me you’ve always wanted this. It’s a dream you’ve had since forever.

I plan to drive until you change your mind.
Then the lights come on. We are here.

There are gleaming metal chairs among the trees.
There are spotlights tracing paths in the dirt.

The surgeons are indeed nice. You find your chair and ask your surgeon his name.
Its Michaela he says. You both smile at how strange that is, how hard it must have been.

I had planned to sit in the car, I wasn’t going to watch, but one of the surgeons
approaches me, asks is that someone you love? I say yes, or something like that.

He says you’re going to win. He can feel it. No question.
There is a crackling coming somewhere near the tops of the trees.

You have a horse I ask. I do he says. Her name is Parker. My son came up with it.
You have a son I say. Hes thirteen he says. Its a difficult age.

Your surgeon is deep into the cut.
Your throat is spilling out onto the velvet-lined tray they’ve arranged at your breast.

You wave to me. You smile. You are very excited because this is it.
I wave back and Yes I mouth I see.


Colin Winnette is the author of several books, including Coyote (forthcoming from Les Figues Press in 2014) and Haints Stay (forthcoming from Two Dollar Radio). He lives in San Francisco.