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Steven Ray Smith

Art by Helena Million


Where the looking goes



Now that the Prozac bottle is a vessel of oxygen,

delight that the miniskirt in once again the barest

whip to tame the animal underneath

and no longer a tacked red bolt of jersey.


Touch the abdominal, long filled up

with chyme

and make out

the miniskirt beneath the miniskirt

scantly covering all those nevi

that still outnumber beauty marks

though this isn't wher the looking goes.


No. It isn't where the looking goes.

Something hurts beneath.

That's where the looking goes.






Downtown church

Wire cut, solar tan, marching stretchers,
no corbels or quoins,
no weep holes,
flush mortar without a soul of bucket handles -
that is the downtown church
and its old yard has a chainlink swing set.

I mailed my question to the stenciled address above
the double glass hydraulic doors.
The response, in courier atop a watermark
of the steeple in baby boomer days,

nearly defensive, said a simple pipe and chain
will never stop swinging

and that the playground is open on Sundays
for children. The last word, for children,
assumed, I assume, I wasn’t.


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