Friday Aug 23

SmithCrystalSimone Crystal Simone Smith is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Routes Home (Finishing Line Press, 2013) and Running Music (Longleaf Press, 2014). She is also the author of Wildflowers: Haiku, Senryu, and Haibun (2016). Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including Callaloo, Nimrod, Barrow Street, Obsidian II: Literature in the African Diaspora, African American Review, and Mobius: The Journal of Social Change. She is an alumna of the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop and the Yale Summer Writers Conference. She holds an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte and lives in Durham, NC with her husband and two sons, where she teaches English Composition and Creative Writing. She is the Founder and Managing Editor of Backbone Press.
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Post-Surgery Strength

After I lay static two days, they came to resurrect me. I needed sunlight, they said. The edge of the bed was a magical feat. Lifted to a stand, gravity reminded me I had indeed died a small death. Dowsed in sweat, I pushed one dead foot in front of another. My weight so heavy, the room became light. They insisted I sit a while. No, I groaned, let’s make it to the window.

evening storm
the nurse measures
my heart rate



Life Alert

We are all petrified when great Granddaddy’s 99th birthday party takes a turn and he passes out. He is out cold, life alert is sirening. The operator on the speaker line is walking us though the wait. My 5-year-old, an old soul, says aloud and calmly, “today might be the day.” Great Granddaddy comes to, lets out a raspy holler. The young paramedics question him. Birth year? 1916. President? Obama. They celebrate, pumping fists in the air, but take him to the hospital for overnight observation. A week later he sends us a text, a selfie holding up the handmade cards the great grandsons gave him inscribed with stick figures and smiley faces.

river fork
the perched egret
looks both ways