Posts Tagged ‘home’

Clay: A Memory & a Dream

January 26, 2018


When I arrive is always years from now
at the edge of my father’s marsh
and the hole is half filled with water
and choked with grass
where at five
I watched him dig lilies for our yard 

I step barefoot into fetid water
worm the ooze around my feet
scoop black decay with my toes
working through sediment
to yellow clay 

Returning night after night
kneading my feet in that clay


First published in Tellus.


51 Plymouth in Marsh - photo by Mike Smetzer

Dad cut the top and the back off his 51 Plymouth and took the seats out so we could haul Christmas trees up to the yard for sale. Worked well until Dad took a shortcut and got stuck at the deep end of the marsh. That night it rained. Still there.


Sibyl: A Love Poem in Winter

January 22, 2018


Look down from your mountain air.
Come home again
on eastward blowing winds.

Winter’s high thin cold
has only paled your skin,
not flushed your blood as I would.

Sibyl, you could be a swan and I
a hot spring in winter’s air,
my mouth around your thighs,

my love, a steam against the cold.


First published in Innisfree Poetry Journal.


Colorado Mountains in Winter - photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer

Colorado Mountains in Winter – photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer

Circling Back

June 30, 2017


A long road under thunder.

Deer alert among cattle.
A fox sidling through clear-cut.

Then white clouds shadowing corn.
The grassy in-road through fields.

Cracked melons in the garden weeds.
Toadstools rotting by the barn.


Circling back, and back.

A hike through mud under snow.
Then the steep path of loose stones

up through a patch of wintering rye
to the window watched only in memory.

New dogs growl from the gate.
Loud, strange voices shriek from the barn.


Copyright © 2017 by Michael B. Smetzer
An earlier version was first published in 2014 by Off the Coast.

Woods Road in Missouri - photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer

Woods Road in Missouri – photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer

Pure Space

June 5, 2017


by Vera Lisa Smetzer


Ruins of an old brick building, no roof, sky
falling on the ground and sunflowers growing
tall like odd gods of the abandoned.
No window panes, only arched spaces opening
to the air like hungry mouths of children.
I click the shutter on sunlight and shadow

until I dream this space, expose
images inside the bricks as I wash prints
in the kitchen sink. A pigeon is caught
flying towards the light in one photograph.
Paul asks, What will you do with these?”
“Look,” I say, “how the light slants against

the brick. This one, the bird’s nest
perched on a rusty rain pipe, white chalk
droppings stain the bricks.” He shakes his head
and looks at the photographs again.
I cannot teach him this perfection
of pure space skimming through arched windows.

I kneel to capture sunlight streaming through
a low break in the bricks. I forget
the smell of week-old garbage in the next alley.
I smell the earth holding fragile shoots of grass.
I turn and behind me a second story window
frames the building behind it and shadows

hang like pictures. I could set a table
and chair in the middle of this lot. Sit
and listen to the birds, plant basil
to keep flies away. Develop prints
in a tray of rainwater. I could live here
and call it home.


Copyright © 2017 by Alvera Lisa Smetzer

Arched Space, photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer

“Arched Space,” photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer

Urban Ruins in Wichita, Kansas, photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer

Urban Ruins in Wichita, Kansas, photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer