Alison Smith: Two Poems

WHAT PEOPLE LOVE TO LOVE ABOUT PRISON
after Jen Hadfield

what people love about prison is the radical separation

what people love about separation are the handwritten letters

what people love about letters is first-person narrative

what people love about the person is tragedy

what people love about tragedy is a glimpse of gallows humour

what people love about humour is the rising above

what people love about rising is nobility

what people love about nobility is vengeance

what people love about vengeance are the rules about snitching

what people love about snitching is the insider’s language

what people love about language is the uniform of belonging

what people love about uniform is the sense of containment

what people love about containment is the furtiveness

what people love about furtive is the passage of contraband

what people love about passage is the vehicle of ass

what people love about the vehicle is physical ingenuity

what people love about ingenuity is the chance to win respect

what people love about respect is what they’ll do to the pedophiles

what people love about what they do is the assumption of a code

what people love about the code is the clarity

what people love about clarity is the purity of heart

what people love about purity are the saints

what people love about saints are the bones

THIRD TRIMESTER LETTER

THIRD TRIMESTER LETTER

The midwives say I worry too much and swallow

this: our souls are in the womb of God.

And so the swifts behind your old apartment, like whirling dervishes,

ecstatic, funnel-fall into a chimney with no house.

I stand waiting for a feminine, cosmic exhale.

My soul’s fetal ears are useless nubs. Others,

optically developed, said depleting ozone was God’s effacing cervix.

Their minute taste buds know that missing species

are dissolved nutrition for we, the amniotic chosen.

All I can say is She. We. She. We. Like kegels,

these orphic contractions comfort, even pleasure, but during

Big Events, don’t we melt like sugar pills?

Take this: a pregnant woman needs help to turn her

wrong-facing fetus. Where does that leave souls?

Either God is pregnant, helplessly cherishing her innards

or she’s over there: gloved, seldom seen (and then, between

the knees). I can’t think that existence gets Placenta and the Hand.

So I am diagnosed pregnant in the left-brain.

My logic tells me I should lie as still as God

for the palpation of your next letter. Each time

I say God is pregnant, I mean Right me, I mean Help.

 

Alison Smith PhotoAlison Smith lives in Nova Scotia. She is the author of The Wedding House (Gaspereau Press 2001), Six Mats and One Year (GP 2003), and the chapbook Fishwork, Dear (GP 2009). Her poems have appeared in Guernica Magazine, Fjords Review, Event Magazine, The Malahat Review, and Understorey.

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