jessica smith

If You Must Cling to Someone

It was pretty much like I was bored
all the time, wearing too short
shorts and over-pinking my cheeks.
Sometimes I stole videos from the video
store and once I carved my name
into a friend’s skin. Mainly he wasn’t
a friend but oh boy his story was all tragedy: his mom,
the postman, an unlocked door. But she wasn’t
even his real mom, he said, as he leaned
his salty face into mine and when

the sun went down he didn’t offer
his nothing to keep me warm instead
he said, well your dad isn’t
your real dad, either, right?

At the Hips Like Chips of Flint

When he proposed on the plane somewhere over Colorado she hesitated. But what about the drink service and all those pock marks on your right cheek? He clicked ice in his teeth and said, Richard Burton looked exactly like me. (I’m hoping they won’t do it, these two. I’m hoping the windows blow out like speakers.) She nodded her creamy nod and looked at the teeth marks all around her nail beds. Marry him, said the stewardess as she pulled loose the knot of her neck scarf. Marry him, said the swollen man in aisle twenty-six as he smeared lipstick on his palm. But then she could hear her terror like the distant whipwhip of a propeller or the quick scuttlescuttle of a monster dragging two victims home for dinner. I don’t know, she clucked and thought how her mother had once left her, homeless, on the beach. At least it was on the beach, she reconciled. At least there was that.

Jessica Smith is a second-year poetry student in The New School MFA program. Her work has appeared in The Red Branch Journal, Anderbo, and other journals.