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Bradley Harrison Smith




I sleep in the pit of the bridge 

a family of scarecrows


Ice beneath the over

pass salt-toothed barnacles


This ship windless mind except

the dreaming of fish  Memory a median

with smashed-in railings


In this people

there is almost no light


The businessman feels sexy

in his wife’s lingerie  He puts it on

when she’s away and fingers himself

in the mirror


The good news is we’re all alone

together  The bad news is everywhere


Shins skinned the boy

will climb anything without branches  He always

tells the same sky the story


I spent five days in a psychiatric ward

and every day since trying not

to go back


I want to feel I’m alive  Her too

tight brassiere


I want to call my wife Birdie

on account of bone structure


But I have no wife and

her bones are industrial


Still I believe

in schoolgirls jumping double-dutch


The animals outside the fence

for just a while longer


I think of all the lost keys in the city

and the doors

they will never open


I see the mirror

in myself  I see the cops bust

a black man

across his spillway of head


Some things you don’t forget

Some things don’t forget you


In the city somewhere

the boy struts

in his mother’s high heels 


His father

is a monster  Still the boy

will not break




Other Houses



Stepping out from other houses

Shoveling clouds in wide-mouthed streets

In strange cities when we were girlish

Feeling the last of our sleep fall out

The open door brilliant

Love’s hammer raised high in the air

With clarity’s pitchfork deep in the gut

The paintings are speaking their flesh out

The firstborn is grinding himself down

On a country road over miles

Running headlong into what

The poplars said about

What morning said

About whatever happens

To happen next

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