Lot 165

No one has come to look at my teeth. 
Flies licking the weep of my waxy lashes. 
‘Draft horses are cathedrals, quiet fortresses. 
Dependable characters,’ the grandmother huffed, 
settling on her heavy legs. She felt my tendons. 
Her perm from the Swan Lake Hair Salon. 
To her floral blouse, matching pleated skirt 
I appealed, I tried not to creak. 
‘I was a white horse of the Red Guards of Senegal’ 
I cried, ‘We rode from the region of Timbuktu 
to the distant lands of Chad.’ 
Oh, my men had faces black-black, my Arab-Barbs; 
my men combed out my long white mane, 
braided fly sweeps for my eyes 
in the night against the purpling palms. 
Insect nights, whispers clean and sharp. 
‘Glory days,’ she said, ‘you should not believe in such. 
You are old, make way for the finite.’ 
She was looking for heart room, I breathed out dark red air. 
She could carry me in her arms. 
She could bed me down in straw. 
I’m near to my knees, pleading. 
No one knows what it is to spend the day 
alone on the stand of oneself. 


Marty Smith lives and teaches in Hawkes Bay. Her poems have appeared in SportLandfallTurbine  and The Page. She is looking forward to spending the summer writing poems for the Iowa Workshop.