Michael Smith



Because whether or not what we want most 
is mastery or just not to be stopped
any wish means to want without end,

they saw themselves pass 
through a Funhouse gallery of possibles, 
exiles cast from a field of blood:

bent, thrummed, absurd. Sent somewhere 
that waits beyond our knowledge, 
they answered last into this late life.


Penitent Masters…Mothers…
Rest here next to your lost ones, stone 
eyes open, stone lips you miss:

Curiosity’s sips whipped them out 
of a frothing cup. The flesh of one flesh 
has risen, was and is one, and will

be so again, shaped by your love, 
reinvented, restored. Born, rapt 
in your arms, as if wondering at

a story they hadn’t read, did they watch 
the record of that face, of bright laughter 
scattering to silence in some warm room?

Did they chart the thumb’s blue scar 
and mark that particular stare, worried, 
then, over risks they did not embrace?


Like us, grown strange and away 
from even themselves, their lives 
must have been something like death: life,
and a parody of life—not the one, not the one life.

They say something like love sent them 
toward our sputtering world. (Out of 
an egg-cloud swirling, beneath 
imagination’s high, starry eye…)

And love, we are sure, has no end.



Mike Smith’s first book, How to Make a Mummy, was published last year. His second, Multiverse, is forthcoming from BlazeVOX books this winter. He has published, also, three chapbooks, including Anagrams of America, which is permanently archived at Mudlark: Electronic Journal of Poetry and Poetics. He has had poems appear in the Carolina Quarterly, Gulf Stream, The Iowa Review, The North American Review, and The Notre Dame Review.