Will Schmit

Song Smiths Hammer It Home

I startle ospreys with my saxophone.
No urban legend, I play for the abandoned 
of the Lord. Song sheets wind ripple in
the shadow of smokestacks.

It’s good for the lungs
to wail below the altar
of logging cranes, launch
an echo to sky-high nests.

The birds caw to the blues
and be-bop, circle the sudden funk
of sunset. Feathered sounds in the air
emulate Parker, Diz, Coltrane.

When the work trucks rumble
I pack my case, trust the notes
to cloud like saints. This fight
doesn’t stop at the bell.

Showtime is Over Our Heads

For some years, decades,
I unpack my alto alone, feign guiding

tones, bend the air around another
midnight. My breath faces the never known––

My maestro moved to Europe
without a word, just a blue note.

I remember his bell ringing
in my brain and the whispering reed 

rasping home––the aged chairs
crowding a stage, the dimming lights

announcing a show. My horn in a hard case
in case my heart hears news.

Worn glue and tape hold 
the waiting handle in place.

Melancholy is only one world. 
Hope creates a second chorus.

Will Schmit is a Midwestern poet transplanted to Northern California. He has been reading, and writing poetry, in between bouts of learning to play the saxophone, for nearly forty years.