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About this Poem 

"Ah. Written after noticing more than one city fella 'discovering' poetry and shedding all things urban to become a Grizzly Adams sort, suddenly prone to long-winded analyses of the seasons and earthy, sun-tinged women who drive shiny pickups, raise wolf-like dogs and bite their nails. They grow old and hopeless together. Love smells like talcum and strained sonnets. If only the 1960s would return. I may or may not know one or both of these people personally."
Patricia Smith

They Romp with Wooly Canines

and spy whole lifetimes on the undersides of leaves.
Jazz intrudes, stank clogging that neat procession
of lush and flutter. His eyes, siphoned and dimming,
demand that he accept ardor as it is presented, with
its tear-splashed borders and stilted lists, romance
that is only on the agenda because hours do not stop.
Bless his sliver of soul. He’s nabbed a sizzling matron
who grays as we watch, a thick-ankled New England
whoop, muscled to suffer his stifling missionary weight.
Earth-smudged behind the wheel of her pickup,
she hums a tune that rhymes dots of dinner trapped
in his beard with twilight. Is it still a collision course
if you must lie down to rest? Bless her as she tries
on his name for size and plucks hairs from her chin.
Bless him as he barrels toward yet another wife
who will someday realize, idly, that her only purpose
in this dwindling novella of his days is to someday
lower his heralded bulk, with little fanfare, into a grave.

Copyright © 2013 by Patricia Smith. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on April 30, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Patricia Smith. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on April 30, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Patricia Smith

Patricia Smith

Born in 1955, Patricia Smith is a poet, teacher, and performance artist. She is the author of Incendiary Art (Northwestern University Press, 2017).

by this poet

poem

The city’s streets are densely shelved with rows
of salt and packaged hair. Intent on air,
the funk of crave and function comes to blows

with any smell that isn’t oil—the blare
of storefront chicken settles on the skin
and mango spritzing drips from razored hair.

The corner chefs

poem
My mother scraped the name Patricia Ann from the ruins
of her discarded Delta, thinking it would offer me shield
and shelter, that leering men would skulk away at the slap
of it. Her hands on the hips of Alabama, she went for flat
and functional, then siphoned each syllable of drama,
repeatedly crushing it with
poem

The storm left a wound seeping,
a boulevard yawning, some
memories fractured, a
kiss exploded, she left
no stone resting, a bone
army floating, rats sated,
she left the horizon sliced
and ornery, she left in a hurry,
in a huff, in all her glory,
she took with her a