What did I mean, back then, describing
myself as “a sea creature in the desert”?
“Fish out of water” wasn’t quite it.
Something moist about me, and the place dry.
Something fluid about me, and the place hard.
Something glistening about me, and the place dull.
Something hilly about me, and the place flat.
I was a creature of poems and songs,
not dollars and cents. I knew I had
a great lineage, but it wasn’t here.
I was a romantic on a mountain-top,
hair streaming in the wind. I was a jelly-
fish on the ocean waves, tentacled,
diaphanous, pulsing. I was the moon
swimming in fast clouds through the spring sky.
I was a star’s light shuddered by gravity.
Thomas R. Smith’s 2022 poetry collection, Medicine Year, is available from Paris Morning Publications. He has a short prose book, Poetry on the Side of Nature: Writing the Nature Poem as an Act of Survival, coming out later in 2022 from Red Dragonfly Press. He lives in River Falls, Wisconsin.