Books » Chapter and Verse

The One

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Stand to face the morning sun,
pull out the arrows
one by one. St. Sebastian
died for you. There is no need, then,
to repeat.
Unless your heart is
bubblegum,
in which case there is
still a lot to do.
All day the truth is stretched to
translucent,
Bazooka Joe pushing his luck.
The truth
has a face that is big as the mouth
of a flea (mark this flea),
and if you miss it

many, many times,
it comes back big as Mothra,
but will we be there (zen koan)
to see that night's cloak
that makes us think
we might have wings
as we jog on small horseback
to witness the unadorned crimes
without gaslight,
those random tipped cows
also known as our souls?

— Ellen McGrath Smith

Ellen McGrath Smith teaches at the University of Pittsburgh and in Carlow's Madwomen in the Attic program. Her work has been recognized nationally through awards like the Rainmaker and Orlando Prizes, and most recently has appeared in Cimarron, Bayou and The Los Angeles Review.  She lives in Polish Hill. Many writers featured in Chapter & Verse are guests of Prosody, produced by Jan Beatty and Ellen Wadey. Prosody airs every Saturday morning on 90.5 FM.

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