Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Ellen McGrath Smith — Shaken 48: How careful was I when I took my way


Hands in my pockets, the salt on the streets,
the yellowing aura that means you are here
by my side again, waking me in dread
with no buffer or bounce. It’s been ten years. 
Now you’re here and not here, smoke
that webs fingers, threads nostrils, rings mouth 
and curls into the sacs of my lungs.
Nearly ten years, my old friend, since I took 
my plodding steps out of your cellar, hoping
to never go down there again. Shaft at the center
of the tower of living, slow steady downpour
that batters the flame. I blocked you, I mocked
you, I kept walking faster. Old depression,
you knew you’d overtake me once again.


Copyright 2019 Ellen McGrath Smith. First published in The Galway Review. Included in Vox Populi by permission of the author.

Ellen McGrath Smith’s latest collection is Nobody’s Jackknife (West End Press).

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