Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Robert Lavett Smith- A Poem


“You mean you haven’t told him that he’s dying?
Then what the hell’s he think he’s in here for?”
My mother bites her lip without replying,
Having endured such foolishness before.
The hospice nurse prates on, oblivious,
Blundering through a painful situation.
What’s the appropriate response to this?
Smoldering silence? Outraged indignation?
What Dad must think, it’s difficult to say—
He’s unresponsive now to anything;
His eyes are tightly sealed since yesterday;
He’s quiet, save for ragged, shallow breathing.
This time tomorrow evening he’ll be dead:
Wry witticisms, sadly, left unsaid.

Son of the noted ichthyologist C. Lavett Smith, 1927-2015, Robert Lavett Smith was  raised in New Jersey, and has lived  since 1987 in San Francisco, where for the past sixteen years he has worked as a Special Education Paraprofessional. He has studied with Charles Simic and the late Galway Kinnell. He is the author  of several chapbooks and three full-length poetry collections, the most recent of which is  The Widower Considers Candles  (Full Court Press, 2014).Two poems from this newest book have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

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