michael dwayne smith

Lunch at the Desert Hawk Diner

When he told me the story of
an Indiana waitress who’d stole
his heart, and his pickup,
I kept thinking about the tattooed
blade on his arm, the red eyes
in the skull that graced it,
how the glow matched the fire
spitting from his tongue, a fire
which was obviously love,
which was obviously hell bent
on reconciliation. He said
his name was Jack, and her name
was Jackie, and though everything
was stacked against them, he
wanted her back. Something in my
coffee told me the steam
in his heart would move them
together again. I left a big tip
for my waitress, who looked as if
she’d kill for a love like
truckless Jack was stabbing for.


It was a sign, fingers poised
over a cotton skirt
but it was a signal I knew
without knowing,
if you know what I mean. Sometimes
a girl and a boy
really are like pink and blue,
and hands really do fit
like tailored gloves. Some say
you call this love. I say
to call it summer, yellow sun warm
on your bare skin,
salty sea on your Moroccan lips,
French secrets
fresh under both your eager tongues.

Michael Dwayne Smith proudly owns and operates the English-speaking world’s most mysterious name. His apparitions flare at The Cortland Review, Northville Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Red River Review, Right Hand Pointing, and other haunts. A recipient of both the Hinderaker Prize for poetry and the Polonsky Prize for fiction, he lives in a desert town with his wife, son, and rescued animals—all of whom talk in their sleep. Conjure him on Twitter with the spell @michaelthebear or on the interwebs at michaeldwaynesmith.tumblr.com.