Sunday Jul 14

SmithAaron Aaron Smith is the author of two collections of poetry both published by the Pitt Poetry Series: Appetite, finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize, the Lambda Literary Award, and the Thom Gunn Award, and Blue on Blue Ground, winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett prize. His work has appeared in numerous publications including Ploughshares and The Best American Poetry 2013. He is assistant professor in creative writing at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Boston: Late Summer

Today two men beat the good
out of each other. A white
man chased a black man,
then fists. The black man got up,

ran after him. Someone filmed
with their iPhone. I’ve lived here
three weeks and don’t know how
to drive. Everyone isn’t patient

with my confusion. Wrong way
down a wrong-way street,
and a woman with a bumper sticker
flipped me off, a gang of bicyclers

cut me off, shook their fists. Asshole.
How do I tell them sorry? Some boys
are pissing now in the weeds during practice.
I didn’t know they were going to turn.

Driving North on Interstate 99 the Poet Considers His Life at Forty

I’ve pushed all my lovers into winter nights
or fled them in 3 AM taxis, each city empty
as a room I slept in. I understood today
why my mother cries when I leave:
she got nothing she wished for at the driveway’s edge.
I ignored friends, stayed home to type in evening light that
even still makes me nearly suicidal. I haven’t found words
for the gray-smudge sadness under my sternum.
I got everything I wanted and didn’t realize it. I got nothing
I wanted and made excuses. Still I can’t sit in a room
without the television on, or think about the past
without throwing pencils at the ceiling.
I can’t stand to drive in silence.
I can’t stand to drive with the radio on.


Dad said someone shot 
the albino deer, with

a gun, out of season. Eyes
pink, white fur, a reverse

shadow in dusk against 
the hillside. Not in all

the years I've hunted
have I seen an animal

like that. It's cruel, he says,
for nature to make

such a thing, unable
to hide when hiding

is how it survives. He looks
through my eyes, then

away, wanting us to stay
ordinary men.