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Friday, August 18, 2017


by Katherine Smith

Harry W. Porter Pumpkin Ash, The Lawn,
Pavilion IX, University of Virginia
On this grass in 1984
I met my true love
in front of the bookstore

where men in camouflage
brandish torches and a few women too
in fluttering skirts, march

not far from the Rotunda.
They chant of the past
but these men aren’t the past.

The past was 1984 when
we lay under the ginkgo
the man who loved

the Ivory Coast and I,
and music from Mali
played on the lawn now lit

by confused torches.
In the future
where the black-shirted men

leave their shadows
behind them in the grass,
lovers will hesitate

to lie under the ash tree.

Katherine Smith’s publications include appearances in Poetry, Cincinnati Review, Missouri Review, Ploughshares, Southern Review and many other journals.  Her short fiction has appeared in Fiction International and Gargoyle. Her first book Argument by Design (Washington Writers’ Publishing House) appeared in 2003. Her second book of poems Woman Alone on the Mountain (Iris Press), appeared in 2014. She teaches at Montgomery College in Maryland.