Before Completion: 5 Poems



These revised poems Copyright © 2010 by Michael Smetzer

Before Completion
The vibrations of trains come up the old wood frame
from the tracks a block north.
Trains whistle through the window cracks.
Lying under an old blanket
in the unheated upstairs.
The dampness rising from the Kansas River.
In the garret strangeness of someone else’s house.
How did I arrive among these old flood-washed timbers?

(first published in Tellus)

After You Left
Two days of freezing rain.
The car glazed fast to the clay.
The snow hardened, gray as the sky.
But today a fat cabbie
flies a kite in the park.
It dips in the Kansas wind
like his chins.

(first published in Wind)

Go into the snow.
Let the snow drift about your ears
and listen to the stillness at night.
Go when the snow is soft and silent,
and the stars are behind the clouds.
Walk in the silent dark.
Feel the cold,
the vagueness under foot,
the blackness above and beside you.
Know you are alone with my shadow in the dark
as I am alone now
with your shadow
in my heart.

(first published in Kansas Quarterly

At Noon
At noon I venture down to the stream.
I sit on a rock and throw clods
        into the current:
Small twigs and insects, leaves and
swirl down the shallow creek.
The oaks creak slowly above
and sun spots preen the grass.
On the other shore, the eyes of
        small creatures
rise like hope in the shadows.

(first published in Cottonwood Review)

An animal sleeps beside me in the dark.
Its breathing swells the sheets.
It turns and nuzzles the pillow,
then the rhythm resumes.
When I take its paw the fingers close.
We breathe into the night.

(first published in Cottonwood Review)


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