Today's poem is by Todd Smith


Kissed by the president in the airport lot
in St. Paul, 1962, her forehead drew crowds
all night. They came to her through a cold

maze of words, uniformed man with gold stars
on arms that brushed her cheek, bare-necked
woman with gloves of ice that shook and shook

her hand, reaching down to take her full name
and age, which was eight. She couldn't sleep
on the long drive back. The spot above one eye

warmed and beat with greatness as the moon
rose splintered in the frozen window. Greatness
and this fear: shutting her eyes to see herself

spread under cereal boxes in the morning papers
of strange kitchens, herself on the TV screen
in the bowling alley downtown, in the magazines

the mailman pulled out from his deep blue bag
of arguments. She saw her face in the broken
moon and wanted it back. But the voice of nine

said no, said not a chance, she's gone, and now
and for whatever it's worth, you've been kissed.

Copyright © 2006 Todd Smith All rights reserved
from Crazyhorse
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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