Jillian Smith lives in Atlanta, GA (USA), and is currently pursuing her PhD in Poetry
at Georgia State University. Originally from outside Philadelphia, Jillian got her BA
in English from Penn State University and her MFA in Fiction from Florida State
University. She recently got married, welcomed two cats into her family, and moved
into her first home.


I have this song
I write to, bare

as winter branches
it scratches

my veins' itch

the dry, empty air
like a stone

stairway leading
to my chest

or a leaf pile burning
at the day's edge

its cool, smoky touch
flutters with words

while I drop from myself.


dotted lines
I sign, the letters
fall through
like leaves, leave
no trace like air
press them
selves to dirt
like seeds, bloom
in back of me
like seasons, need
some perch
of green or blue
or white to clutch
and love and leave,
alone in the sky
of the mind where
roots grow
in sound and
the future turns
on its heel.


Tangled in arms, legs,
frowns' rusty hangers
and smiles' stilts,
I dangle
like a weed sprouted
from sky, smeared
in the fog's
crusty eyes, beheld
by the blank face of dew.

into separate rooms,
I pulse blood
to the basement's
dim shapes, past cloudy
window panes, through wood
boards lifting the floor,
up into the attic
loose with ghosts.

A Christmas
tree becomes me,
limbs relaxing
as the day grows lean,
I hang lights
from the mesh of branches
propping me up,
my scent knotted
in the rug's tufts.


My father, an echo behind a name.
Moods change: he is a man

on the edge of a mind, a boy leaning
on a broken fence, lips a sneer.

When the sun fades into pink-blue mesh
he is a pacing and trundling

patter of feet, or a long slink
on the couch, aimed toward the TV.

Heir to his father's legacy, yet unable
to prop him up; maker of pasta sauce

with hamburger meat; singer of random
song lyrics, giggling at the screw-ups.

Red wine with dinner, demands for
red pepper, cutting remarks trailed by

gentler questions—at silence he stills
or else lobs words like baseballs

into the space sprouting between us
where we dangle like ornaments

on our Christmas tree, intricate yet
slightly off-kilter, shimmering

in the right light, or else content
to be hidden among branches.

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