Two Poems
Michael Grant Smith

Unit of Measure

You come to him with your whining
storied innocence, mouth in a perfect "o",

eyes crouched and eager to consume.
Take it away from him, give it to him

set it right there -- better yet, push it down
keep it cold next to your heart of claims.

The table is set like a plateau, a trial
not yet begun, all the more desperate

because he asked you to stay, to place,
to extract the best fiction of trust imagined.

It flirts with the edge of perception, un-centered,
replaces what's invisible viewed straight on

and obliquely reveals the limit of what he heard,
or touched, or understood like air you left behind.


You were there in the night sky
like fireflies against the back of a Holstein.
Pre-cheese, pre-butter, pre-stroke --
dairy-rich with murder,
chewing cud, bovine,
innocent as prey.

You are not the words to my story
but the typeset striking the page:
a blow to the head; points of light
that persist in peripheral vision.
Homeward bells, jittered stars,
paddock and pump.