by Michael Grant Smith


I shut off the alarm and get out of bed. A dog sleeps on the floor; his coat is the color of gravy-soaked bread. I don’t own a pet. Careful not to disturb the animal, I crawl back under the covers and try to dream of an explanation. Oh, I mutter, now I understand, but the only way my answer makes sense is for me to remain asleep.

Much as a horse in springtime will rub off its mane, I have divested myself of that which is obsolete and irritating. Reasons never stray far from their predetermined course, even if you can’t perceive their flight. If I wait long enough for insight it must surely invent itself.

There’s a basis for all of this, you tell me, everything relates to a purpose. You lean against the armoire. Why did you do that? Closing the bedroom door as you go, you say you’ll never leave me.

I can imagine my possessions only when they are elsewhere. That which I hold in my hand is alien to me. I visualize the contents of my desk drawers, but to visit my study I step into the hall and don’t know where it leads me. If you want to see the faintest star, you mustn’t look directly at it. I once counted ten thousand cold white suns, but can’t remember the number of those that mattered.

I recline on clean linen and you sit beside me. A photograph of you hangs on the wall. We watch your interview on the television but you’re not saying or doing anything there either. I don’t know what happens next.

It’s morning and I hear the starlings outside in your garden. Sky-clad, let’s walk there together as if we are lovers again, our hips bumping each other softly and my hand on the lowest part of your back. Our flesh promises everything.

We brush against clematis that clings to the fence. The essence of wild rosemary and sweet basil hangs like a shroud. How will I know when we’ve arrived, or if it’s the right place?

I used to keep a journal in which I’d record my thoughts and actions. The information is lost now; because of my efforts to conceal this body of work, I’m unable to lay hands on it.

Spare a kind thought for the horse that bears an unsympathetic rider or strains to pull a sledge through upland snow. This noble beast could be saving your world.




Michael Grant Smith‘s writing has appeared in elimae, Ghost Parachute, Bending Genres, The Cabinet of Heed, Ellipsis Zine, Spelk, Soft Cartel, and elsewhere. Michael resides in Ohio. He has traveled to Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Cincinnati. To learn too much about Michael, please visit and @MGSatMGScom.


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