August Smith


Perched on the bow of my boat on the sea,
I gaze at the horizon that I most certainly own.
Before me: an island. And now I own that too.

Its volcano bellows a murky sulfur
across the setting sun, mansplaining shadows
to the thing that knows them best.
It’s a sight and a half for the sunglasses
veiling my soul, sweetly stirred,
a cheap gin and tonic.

Another man lives at the base of that volcano.
He shoots tropical birds from his porch all day
and says he’ll never leave.


A wedge of swans sip beers
in a river of sweat and tears.

They are trying to prove
that love is not worth the hassle

of becoming something else.
Unfortunately, one of them

starts to feel an emotion
and it’s like seeing a choir

sing hallelujah
behind soundproof glass.


Rabid dogs convene beneath a moonbeam.
They travel past abandoned train cars,
the halogen blue of street lamps playing
across their soft and ragged shapes.

They slink through the fog without a sound
save the quiet patter of their calloused feet
echoing down the tracks.

The dogs find a stray cat and they surround it. They start
to tear each other apart. A colossal train
thunders past, frightening them into submission.

Mysteriously, the cat is gone. A cat-shaped hole is in its place.