Author: Molly Smith


there is another person that figures
the sandwich will be tough to bite into and
the road will feel much shorter on the way back.
grief is a shoe, unlaced. all rocks look alike, but you are special.
this person knows that the long trench coat was made for you.
they adore the fit. they see it like a permanent blanket over the body.
the small scrapes in life will become part of the frayed quilt, still unfinished
apparently. the much larger problems will become the sunset, red and drippy.
this person knows the figure eight made with a pencil, encoding infinity
onto our schoolwork, for probable solutions and determination,
was not really to test knowledge, but to scaffold endurance.
this person would like to sleep inside warm thighs.
you have thighs. you have washed the green grapes.
they are ready to be plucked from their stem, rationed
like bad advice, then devoured in seconds.

there too, is a love out there. it is waiting for you, ripe and ready
to be plucked from its dry stem, and rationed, then devoured
only in seconds.

Hair Up, Hair Down

He likes G better with her hair down. The boy tells this to G. 

            G leaves her hair down and it gets caught in the blender. 

She is processing her emotions plus her thoughts about him acting out. 

            The other day, she sat down to write a poem, and pulled 

Back her thin lines of time, and he went, wow. He told G he likes her 

            Better with her hair up now. In a bun, a ponytail, or two braids. 

G could never say it, but she likes him with his hair all self-aware. 

            Hair that says thank you, and you look beautiful, but 

You are the most beautiful beside me. G likes her boyfriend best

With kind hair. Straight and to the point hair. Newton’s law

of gravity hair. What goes up must come back down hair. 

Isaac must have been staring at G’s straight, honey mane.

If G’s boy is not careful, Newton might steal his girl, but

G is concerned only with the words of Matthew, specifically

Matthew 5:5. The meek and gentle shall inherit the Earth. G reads

this to the boy. G hopes that the boy will love her like god loves her. 

Counting and loving each hair on her head. G raises a thick, wild

Strand of hair up to the light and she sees right through it. 

Asking Why on the White River

Asking why on the White River,
you tell me about the time you tried
to kill yourself, dropping to the side
of a California highway.

Later that night
I’m spitting tobacco juice down the drain,
remembering how I laid crucifix in the grass,
touched it with trembling hands in triumph
at the memory of a near six year drawl
prophesying over me: the grass
           would never be greener.

Known only by the glow of cheap cigars
I tell you why I won’t sing hymns.
You tell me you were in love once.
     I ask myself how to know what it feels like
and why time is a mechanism
                                of middle grade clarity.

The spin and ache of hours draws truth
from history, admissions staining the water
in incantations of suffering. Nicotine
behind my eyes, beneath my tongue
              like a rudder as I say to the sky
I never wanted the grass.

I wanted what is now in front of me:
tall trees casting silhouettes on black water.

NOVUS Literary and
Arts Journal
Lebanon, TN