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Monday, November 14, 2016


by Katherine Smith

The quiet of the street’s
Unbroken, except for
The intermittent roar

Of leaf-blowers beneath
The maple trees next door,
The sound of aluminum

Bats struck against a ball.
The shouting near the school
Not far from where I live

Grows louder as I walk
Towards it, past the park.
The light this afternoon

Filters through crimson rain
Of walnut leaves to chips
Of bark beneath the slide,

Merry-go-round and swing.
A sheepdog with my Thai
Neighbor passes by, and he

Scoots his dog’s white rump
To mulch beside the curb
So I can pass. In DC

The protests have begun
And a cold front moves
If not through autumn sky,

Quite yet, then through the hearts
That thump within the half
Of us like a blade. I think

Of the writing prompt,
Abandoned for a walk,
That asked us poets to devise

A proper response to one
The history books will call
Winner. But here I pause

To watch a team of girls
At the softball pitch,
A group of dads, who coach

The way to swing a bat.
I contemplate the courage,
Dignity, and grace,

The beauty, human, flawed,
Of course, as all beauty is,
Thrown towards us like a ball

We couldn’t catch.

Katherine Smith’s previous publications include appearances in Poetry, Cincinnati Review, Missouri Review, Ploughshares, Southern Review and many other journals. Her first book Argument by Design (Washington Writers’ Publishing House) appeared in 2003. Her second book Woman Alone on the Mountain (Iris Press) appeared in 2014.