I pretended I was water
etching the canyon wall. Indigo,
the purples, the blacks
and flashed upon a constellation of mica
broken mirrors of
complicated lovers, and then over
to-stone, and burled, grooved, eroded my way
into the mildewed cribs,
along leather city soles, away from
I pretended I was water etching clean
the canyon wall
a rapacious vein ordained
to cleave a nation, a push
without substance, without mercy.
As gravity bid, without recourse, I opened
gashes, lacerations revealing
I pretended I was water etching white
the canyon wall, etching will
to fate, heroism to wisdom.
And I drank the minerals of my going
and gratefully ate the grains sloughed
by the weakest stars.
Michael C. Smith is the author of Writing Dangerous Poetry (McGraw-Hill) and the coauthor of another book on creative writing, Everyday Creative Writing: Panning for Gold in the Kitchen Sink (McGraw-Hill). His work has appeared in several journals, including Iowa Review, Seneca Review, Northwest Review, and other publications. Recently his meta-fictional story, “Bass Weather,” published originally by Gemini Magazine, was included in the 2017 Best Small Fictions anthology, edited by Amy Hempel, and including works by Joy Williams and Brian Doyle. Michael lives in Pomona, CA, and is a proud graduate of the MFA program at the University of Arizona.