J. D. Smith


Bored uniforms are barking, as they will.
Good prisoners remove their shoes
And belts, and let the low tubs thump and fill
With anything they have to lose
And stand and wait until, like other freight,
They’re scanned for any molecules
That could be made to cut or conflagrate,
Or likely not. But there are rules.
Perhaps a pat, a prod, a word before
The reach for uncased laptops and
The reshod walk to gates past store and store,
Some version of a promised land.

Slant Georgic

While ear-tagged feeders, shipped at season’s end,
were ledger entries, livestock that stayed on
had names: cats, dogs, alpacas sold off by
the latest hobby farmer faced with facts.
Hens, though, were all called “Stewie” for
what happened when their laying days were done.
“The pot makes for a better end than what
a fox’s teeth would do,” the old man said
before he headed out to cull a bird
and have it bleed out from the dented cone.
He never came back quick, but always with
eyes shining, as if they’d recently been wet.

J. D. Smith lives in Washington, DC and labors at the decidedly unpoetic job of editing the writing of economists. His sixth book of poetry, the light verse collection Catalogs for Food Lovers, was published in October. His fifth book, the free-verse collection Glenn Danzig Carries Cat Litter, was published in August. His individual poems have appeared in Able Muse, The Dark Horse, The Formalist, Measure and Nimrod. In 2007 he was awarded a Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts.