Across the Embarcadero
A red ferryboat turns on the bay.
Three gulls spin above it,
then pinwheel against glints of sky.
Wingless, we consider these spirals
magical, as alchemists might,
that like may conjure like,
that the heart, astonished
as it beholds this ascension from below,
may suddenly leap and bend upward.
Nestlings, our imagination precedes
evolution: We will fly, the curvity
of our desire blooming with feathers,
our weightless thoughts
gliding upward in the pure
oxygen of heaven, which also we have so
deeply imagined. Sails crest the water.
A flock of gulls turns to circle the pier,
wings fanning out against sea’s gravity.
Portrait, in Miniature
I think of you,
and the smallest breeze disperses you
like the leaves of an unbound novel.
I am unable to sweep up with my hands
what remains of you.
I think of you,
but you disappear by degrees everyday
like leaves beneath a falling snow.
I am undone by how increasingly hard it is
to see you at all.
The more I think of you, the more your face
fades to an intaglio of sorrow,
the more withered and veined we become.
I cannot retrieve you.
I see only this locket
portrait I’ve painted: winter’s twin bodies
in our bed, clothed, untouched,
as night’s last howl and stir leaves us.
Michael Dwayne Smith is a California desert native and graduate of the creative writing program at U.C. Riverside. He's the poetry editor at Cease, Cows Literary Journal and has been a professor since long after the cows came home. His work appears in cool journals like burntdistrict, Word Riot, decomP, >kill author, Heavy Feather Review, Monkeybicycle, and The Cortland Review. Michael lives near a ghost town with his wife and rescued animals--follow him at http://michaeldwaynesmith.