4. Deepset and Longlashed
My girlperson for years. We were thick.
Through the bric-a-brac of drum hardware,
crash cymbal ceilings, brown eyes come shining.
She put me to sleep each night in the brick casket
beneath her bed, and chose me each morning.
What we thought love—deepset, baby, deepset.
But how the casket lottery claims tricky,
the birds outside all birdy, get hard to ignore.
Soon just the shadow of our voices singing—
all I need is salt & pepper sand and a handful
of my best friends— Beach day love.
To be here now is a different kind of lost. Longlashed.
I’ll defend your body for the touch of it.
Seedy righteous love.
8. Planet Shhh
Four walls repainted white.
Ceiling, fresh caulked holes
that once held runners. You are in the doorway
fingering two keys off your chain, building up
to what you want to say in that familiar refrain
I’ve brought you to for the first time, but for me
again and again.
I want to speak, but as you look up at me finally
I’m still sixteen,
sitting alone in a booth at a Chinese restaurant.
She has gone off angry into the night
as the waitress awkwardly places the baskets.
All those strange stares still have me slipping
that first dumpling into my mouth.
10. Never Met the Gooch
but you said imagine—High on rooftop tar
he hears the far-off arrow’s cry, the insignia above
the city in choked sky, saying Sky! Sky! Leaping off
into the mirrored building already smashed by the glare
of stands overflown with ripe oranges. A boy flying
paper airplanes inside the debris of hissing static,
the manner of waves. Your arms propulsive, take up
the room. But before bemoaning the boohooers
and helping strangers to safety, you and I
and the adventure of language between two wrecked ships.
The subtle art of cottonmouth conversing.
Hand signal halos and have-to-go’s, be-right-back’s
with a single finger like shush-hang-on-just-a-minute-hmm’s.
I get to second with a shoulder shrug and lower lip.
Tyler Smith lives and works in Somerville, MA. He plays bass in the bands Pistol Buckets and Small Fires.