Kieran Collier

To Start
Written with only the 500 most common words in the English language

We only have so many letters
with which to produce
a common language.

When we use big words
to try and teach,
we only govern.

For example:

there is power
when cities plan
on a map.

Where streets lead.
Where schools
are and are not.

Where green food
can be found
and eaten.

The same is true for words
we do or do not use
when we speak.

Sound is nothing
short of music, each vowel
a spell to learn.

The more simple
a song, the more people
who can sing together

and fill a room
with the force of
a ready voice.

Oh, I speak slow
like the start
of a story.

I speak like a hand
following each
line of a book.

I speak like thousands
of years ago, my mother’s
family tree just took off—

a bird, small enough
to find the power
of travel in wind.

And a world
was made
of their voices.

I have tried
to follow that earth
like a light

left on in a house
where a door sits
possible and open.


Kieran Collier is a Boston based writer and educator. He is the author of When the Gardener Has Left (Wilde Press, 2015) and This to You (Beard Poetry, 2016). His work has been featured in the anthologies MultiVerse: A Write Bloody Superhero Anthology and Again I Wait for This to Pull Apart, as well as multiple online and print journals. His favorite color is orange. .