D. James Smith


I thought it was a large moth, mistook it
For a portent of something special
In the wind:
A dusky desert brother
To the red darts usually seen.
It looked down on its luck,
Then up again, down,
Then, with a pirouetting loop,
Penned the air in a grand sweeping
Signature to the left.
Its is a rapier’s thrust, a phlebotomist’s
Needle probing before setting deep.
Its very name could be Sudden.
Like now,
In front of my window, it makes the sign
Of the cross, then,
Heart the size of a pea,
It delves and it suckles,
Thistles of light where
The wings ought to go.
Where the heart goes. That quick.
That tentative. That sure.

D. James Smith

has been a recipient of an NEA fellowship in poetry and an Edgar fellowship in fiction. His work has appeared widely, in magazines such as Nimrod, Notre Dame Review, Poetry International, and Stand. His books include two collections of poems—Sounds The Living Make (S. F. Austin State University, 2012) and The Dead Ventriloquist (Ahsahta, 1995)—the novel My Brother’s Passion (Permanent Press, 2004), and four novels for children (Atheneum).