Today's poem is by Claire Sylvester Smith

Out of Place

For a while the most erotic thing I could imagine
was putting my lips on something someone else had
put their lips on. It was boys' mouths that I was
interested in, and we were all young enough
that I didn't have to concern myself with how this
syllogism would require me to kiss any other girls.
Things to put your lips on: a shirtsleeve, a cup.
Recently I saw a man I used to know in a dream,
and tried to get his attention by saying over and over
to him, "I'm speaking I'm speaking I'm speaking
I'm speaking I'm speaking." He had headphones on
so he didn't hear me, but he could see me, and in response
he said "I can read lips." He sounded really proud
of himself. Then, awake, l saw a famous actress at a party
and had a sensation like when an adult calls your
kindergarten teacher by her first name in front of you,
in that for a moment she was real in a way
she hadn't been. The longer I talk the smoother things
feel to me, as if I'm unencumbered of my own
correctness. In childhood I never got so far as pretending
to be asleep so my parents would carry me inside
from the car, but I wouldn't in retrospect be upset if
I had. Now I am driving here in Texas, among
all the wider loads. The airplane wings are my favorite,
because they seem like they should just be able to fly
wherever they're going. Even alone. Even without
a body or engine attached. Upon pulling out a grocery
cart from the line of grocery carts and discovering
it had trash in it, 69% of shoppers put the trash
in another grocery cart, which is funny in the way
religious billboards are funny, wherein by laughing at
them, we betray that we're not in on the actual joke.

Copyright © 2013 Claire Sylvester Smith All rights reserved
from Barn Owl Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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