Saturday Jun 03

Bolton Poetry Diana Smith Bolton is the founding editor ofDistrict Lit. Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Cider Press Review, Coldnoon, concīs, The Fem, Gargoyle, The Northern Virginia Review, The Pedestal, The Pinch, and elsewhere. She lives in northern Virginia.

Send Someone Down
            Title and lines from It's A Wonderful Life

I know this old story: the opening credits,
            the streets filling with fuzzy snow,
the locked bank, the prayers rising. I know

there's a moon out tonight, but I’ll stay in
            and watch a film that begins
long ago with my father and tonight ends

here in snowy lamplight. Is this the ear
            that you can't hear in?
Like swallowing the moon, I now begin

to mourn my father before his death.
            I see my hand holding this
can of beer, diminutive version of his

hand, that one just moonlit shadow
            of his own father's, our family
spiraling out like a fractal galaxy

with so many arms, each with a beer
            at the end of it. We Smiths
are too anxious for reflection— this

mirror holds too many fathers to consider.
            His gentle arm lassos my waist.
I wanted him, not his secret hiding place.

My father's was in plain sight, in the dark
            with the radio and a beer chilled cold.
Strange, isn't it? When a man isn't around,
            he leaves an awful hole.

Hail the Conquering Hero
            Directed by Preston Sturges, 1944

The boulevard fills the shot, tall oaks
fuzzing the film. She crosses her arms
as Big-Nosed Hero confesses,
but surprised is not the word for it.

One long frame presses them both
against the trees until an insert shot
of her sweater reveals Rich Fiancé’s
glinting fraternity pin on her breast.

On her shoulders, Big-Nose’s hands
find their own reasons. She realizes
she has been conquered, is conquered,
is in his pocket like a penny.

I want to say, don’t go with him
to a life of pies and consequence,
get out before that nose
presses against your cheek.