Born between rivers, you are infinitely
cultivated. Sand backwashed from the ocean.

Good silt down from the plains. Fermented 
in Disneyworld bacteria, embryos fasciculate 

in polluted foam. The water rises, wrapping
its chastity belt of syrup on the rocks.

Sunflowers feast in this grammar. Their words
are the river’s when the birds rise, stiff at first,

then fluid. An afterthought brings one back,
mother low in her woven flight, double-checking

the nest. Fingers in the hourglass. Eggs
humming in their sleep. And the snake who lives

in every forest and field, under every bed,
far-seeing and ravenous, who’d eat

his own tail if it meant for one night
he was the shadow that silenced the rest.

Photo by Gary Yost on Unsplash

Reed Smith

Reed Smith's debut book of poetry, Declarations of Hunger, is forthcoming from Brooklyn Arts Press. Originally from Texas, he went to the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and currently cares for Covid patients in nursing homes near Miami, Florida.