Arda Collins holds an M.F.A. in poetry from The University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was a Glenn Schaeffer Fellow. Her poems have appeared in the American Poetry Review and Gutcult, where she is a contributing editor, and are forthcoming in n+1. She lives in New York City, and will be teaching a fiction workshop in Wellington, New Zealand at Victoria University this fall.

Garden Apartments by Arda Collins


It was raining a little.

I wondered if I were outside

if I would get wet.

I was in the car.

I passed a school.

I didn't really know where I was.

I had lived near here for a while.

It was a quiet, residential neighborhood,

garden apartments in the back of the town.

I parked near a driveway and turned the car off.

They were basically ugly.

It's no one's fault though.

I wondered what I would do the rest of the day.

People were running their lives from here.

They had a coffee table and mugs with writing on them.

They had the rest of their lives. It was just like the other day.

The weather was warm for the first time.

I was out walking.

A young couple came out of a house.

She had just taken a shower,

blow-dried her hair and put make up on,

and put on light-colored pants and a t-shirt.

I smelled her shampoo

when they passed, and I felt afraid of the day.

The rest of the walk was better.

It smelled like rain in the car. There was no one around.

I heard my jacket when I moved.

I thought how god loves this place;

the grass was coming in, and the crocuses.

What if someone died, or got fired,

or vomited alone in the middle of the night?

The apartments were wood on the outside.

They were stained red like the color of a picnic table.

I was so ugly, I wasn't sure I'd even be able to drive.