Black Ice

How can you believe what you can’t see?
Jesus said believe in me to Peter, and to others,
and they didn’t blink, they gulped and swallowed
maybe, but no doubt what was belief then,
the way a nausea drools, then convulses you.

In Baltimore it spread because a host of
weathers comes together and the days are black
in their mood, hurt’s just waiting, you are not
anyone special, not chosen, but you believe
in yourself, not words you hear rasped as you pass

an alley, maybe late for lunch, or leaving church,
or like me, opening the mailbox, just a little
step, no trouble expected, and the whole of you’s
flying, a failed physics assumption. Only
even that doesn’t last, there’s a superior premise

under the invisible, and it’s harder. I got dumped
like a horse I saw a girl strike with a two-by-four.
Half under my car, freezing, I started to pray.
Let me get up, please. I sounded like a boy
years ago in the dark practicing for Jesus, or

at least hoping I would sound real to the faces
when I professed my faith. After a while
I crawled to a bench, a perfect afternoon empty
as my heart, no cars, no walkers, how could I
not see how slippery the world was, and wait?

Dave Smith

Dave Smith

Dave Smith is the author of many books of poetry, fiction, criticism, and memoir, including The Wick of Memory: New and Selected Poems, 1970–2000, Little Boats, Unsalvaged: Poems, 1992–2004, Hunting Men: Reflections on a Life in American Poetry, and Hawks on Wires: Poems 2005-2010. Former editor of The Southern Review, he has received numerous honors, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Rockefeller Foundation, and membership in the Fellowship of Southern Writers.
Dave Smith

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Author: Dave Smith

Dave Smith is the author of many books of poetry, fiction, criticism, and memoir, including The Wick of Memory: New and Selected Poems, 1970–2000, Little Boats, Unsalvaged: Poems, 1992–2004, Hunting Men: Reflections on a Life in American Poetry, and Hawks on Wires: Poems 2005-2010. Former editor of The Southern Review, he has received numerous honors, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Rockefeller Foundation, and membership in the Fellowship of Southern Writers.