About the Feature

Great Plains

Photo By el-toro


I would wake up hollowed of home,
like the womb-loving part of me
had cracked itself open: a mockingbird
egg sluiced across the new morning.
I would leave bed to tear parcels
out the floorboard, pour thick red
soil and seed lupines, watch them sink
blue teeth into the parlor landscape
like a cottonmouth or coyote. I would
lay a pie tin and baling wire over
the breadbox, custom a dobro, pluck
western swing for the blooming.
I would snick windows into walls, cross
the open door frames with scraps,
that the library, breakfast nook, claw-
footed tub might welcome wild foxes,
sod poodles, cicadas, and snails, even
the saguaros, the night sounds of grasses
and horned toads and whip-poor-wills,
the patience of the dust bowl wind.
Then I’d wake again. And the day showed me
I needn’t return home. It returned
to me, crawling, mooing, in slant beams
like the sun, like the roof of the haunted
Lutheran church we always ran from
as kids. I only had to harrow, make space,
kill or conceal anything that got in the way.

About the Author

C. Henry Smith makes poems in Oregon. His work has appeared in Jabberwock Review, DMQ Review, River River, Peach Velvet Mag, and others. He is grateful for past residencies through Spring Creek Project and Chicago Art Department and is currently pursuing an MFA at Oregon State University. @chenrysmith.