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By Martha Collins

stock     strain     family     line

breed     blood     skin     shape

of the head     of the pack

animal     human     judge

better     fitter     swiftly

to find     foot     horse     car     run

for your life     around

town     the block     the camp


to the top     the finish     contend

compete     in     for     against

the other     the not so

great     not even in the

Added: Thursday, November 5, 2015  /  This poem was first published in "Prairie Schooner," and will also be in Collins's forthcoming "Admit One: An American Scrapbook" from Pitt Poetry Series in 2016. Used with permission.
Martha Collins

Martha Collins's Admit One: An American Scrapbook (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016),  White Papers (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012) and the book-length poem Blue Front (Graywolf Press, 2006) combine documentary research with innovative poetic techniques to explore disturbing aspects of America’s history, including race and racism. Described by the AWP Chronicle as “a dazzling poet whose poetry is poised at the juncture between the lyric and ethics,” Collins has also published four collections of co-translated Vietnamese poetry and (among other books of poetry) Night Unto Night (Milkweed Editions, 2018) and Day Unto Day (Milkweed Editions, 2014). Founder of the creative writing program at UMass-Boston, she served as Pauline Delaney Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College for ten years and as Distinguished Visiting Writer at Cornell University in 2010. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Learn more at Martha Collins’s website.

Other poems by this author