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Three Poems
Not as a Figment

A smoke detector with
foam taped over its nose. Silk
flowers in an urn. Nearby: orange
soda evaporates, a child’s wooden
toy. His mother stands on pink tile
in blue socks. The gentle curtain
of her gold skirt could be shelter,
could be longing. Beside her: spines
of books about business school
blanched by the sun. A half-eaten
banana left upside-down in a plastic
cup, its skin gently browning.
Song of Betel leaves being moved
from one cheek to the other and
someone sleeps on a sofa, the peal
of fleecy bells in the distance.
These real things. These real
things that make everything
real around them.



There was a lot of talk about what
the Buick could and couldn’t do.
Empty stares and spit. A beer can

Tender John itched his beard.
                             A dog barked at last.

Kids tried on mother’s makeup
and told secrets in nearby garages,
while a centennial lingered …

                                The sun was

               Parts of the Buick’s engine
were spread on a red bed sheet.
Neighbors drifted on and
off the lawn, asking,
       What could it do?


The Truth

One time I saw a white rainbow outside Omaha.
One time I saw a striped iceberg with a pay stub stuck to it.

There is gravity, totally,
we’re told this.
Ariel asked me what a vacuum was,
like an outer-space vacuum. I sort of knew

but gave a bullshit answer. The smartphone
is trying to kill bullshit but

the human mind perseveres.
For the truth to seem true now

it has to be more interesting.
We edit pictures of rainbows.

We make elaborate excuses for
not showing up. We present one life,

and present yet another.

And if someone really did throw
their pay stub into the ocean,

and it really did stick to a rare, striped iceberg,
we’d have to be on a ship

in the Antarctic to see it, when mostly
I sit in my bedroom and imagine

people walking around villages
during the Middle Ages, their feet caked

in mud—each of them privately knowing
that heaven would one day hold them.

Evan Gill Smith’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Washington Square Review, PreludeEpiphanyHorsethief, and No Dear. He produces poetry videos for the series Poeta on 8-Ball TV and also performs in several musical projects. He lives in Brooklyn and teaches writing at CUNY.