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Austin Smith in “On The Seawall”

The Greenhouse

 

So this is paradise, I would think

When, in late winter, we stepped out

Of winter and into spring.

 

The greenhouse was glorious,

But it was a rushed, undeserved glory.

To go in was to be catapulted

 

A month ahead and to leave

The overwintering land behind.

Through the fogged windows

 

The earth seemed cursed

So that I felt guilty, the same quality

Of guilt I felt after glimpsing

 

Our Christmas presents

Through the gap

Between sliding doors.

 

I wanted her to hurry up

And choose her herbs and geraniums

Already, her lily and tulip bulbs,

 

My guilt turning to longing

For the moment when

We stepped out of spring

 

And into winter

And I would think

So this is the world.

 

*      *      *      *      *

 

Blank Headstones on Display

 

If what is engraved in a headstone

Is dead then the dead are

Whatever is reflected in these

Blank headstones on display.

 

My car, in passing, has passed

Away, as have the gray September

Clouds and the blue of the new

Super Walmart across the way.

 

One day a name will make this

Or that headstone specific

But for now whatever comes

Before their obsidian mirrors,

 

In being reflected there,

Is memorialized, if only

For a moment, and one

Need not have done

 

Anything to deserve it

Apart from happening

To be passing through

The west side of Galena, Illinois.


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