Jared Smith

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An Evening in September

I am sitting on the back deck sipping Johnnie Walker,
my dog resting by my side and the crescent moon bright
over my neighbor’s house, a few early stars caught
in the wax and weave of crickets at the end of summer
throbbing with the tempo of his aging air conditioner.
I have to wonder how many rub their legs against
themselves to almost overcome the machinery, enough
almost to overcome the small plane passing overhead.

Tools to a Lesser Force

I wake up and stare at my fingers.
Where have they been in the night?

All my life they have led me, grasping
at dreams and ghosts that slip away.

This morning they have new cuts
and there are bruises across the knuckles.

Where have they been in the night?
They are still asleep clutched around

the corner of my pillowcase of worry
with all the lost jobs and unpaid bills,

all the naked angels I have tried to hold,
where have they been in the night?

What do they have to say to all that?
They were but tools to a lesser force.


Jared Smith has been around for awhile.  His 14th collection, That's How It Is, was released last spring by Stubborn Mule Press and is available from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Spartan Press, and elsewhere. His work has appeared widely in this country, Canada, Mexico, the U.K., and in translation in China.  He lives just outside the foothills of The Rockies.  That's how it is.