Turned to Sympathy


James L. Smith

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 117 in February, 2009.

The beer makes it on to the page first
What can you write when Bukowski is
As old and dead as Shakespeare
The young perfect girls are all but
Past or incorrect somehow
Either way impossible and devastating
I make arch enemies of bugs
Or a light film of dirt on my Dodge
What was once disgust has
Turned to sympathy

The body wants to survive
The mind laughs and cries
Laughs and gives the order to die
And then they cry together
Like brother and sister
Huddled in a dark corner
And they die

I make a midnight snack
Left over bloody steak warm
I realize how much I love
My wife in far off train silence and dark sheets
Never long enough
The sun rises again like a young child
On Christmas morning