A City by Reed Smith

While its enemies made good their promises
The cuckoos were heralding in the darkness

Tio Armando felt the urge
To bury his sack of gold coins below the garden

Instead of sweet blue bahia the remaining cows
Grazed on Sakrete bags of ready-mix

Fear and starvation tapped their linchpins
Like a road crew into withering axons

The innocent taught their students
To feign ignorance

They had the freedom to walk
In the weak sun and take in the evening breeze

Nothing moved them so much as the cold winds
Bleaching the slag-gray bay some mornings

Or the rooms now lit with candlelight
Glittering above the streets like lanterns

One Monday a third dimension of suspicion arrived
And went door to door with his clipboard collecting names

The sidewalks were wet—sloppy with fresh rain
Their footsteps left inhuman faces on the stone

There were monsters disguised as friends
Assassins—rogues who knew the best chemicals to sniff

It was cold—December—no one sought to play a part
Of their own choosing

Where the sky broke from evening
Thousands came together and there was night


About the Author

Reed Smith attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the University of Texas, where he was awarded a James A Michener fellowship. He lives in South Florida with his wife and family.


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