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J.T. Smith


There was a boy named Za(c)(ck)(ch)(k).



My mind shows him

as a fox with blonde hair,


The impact of his four wheeler on a

fence post, net zero wheels


Screaming up dirt,

my arms squeezing around a ribcage


(two)(three)(four) years older than mine,


Unknowing of an anchor,

His neck smelling of suncreen and salt.


My mind wrapping boys and danger

around my neck like


An enraged python tied

Into a perfect bow



The Trough.



Before, I lived in the obliterated, bathed in a river with

men with their M.B.A degrees, frolicked through burned,


                                                                      burning buildings of reinforced concrete,

                                                                      their diplomas in a fire-proof safe, they bathed


them, the safes, capital communion, excitedly fingered

the combination, trumped by lack of experience, failed




I was too busy singeing my hands to catch falling

burned bowels of building for them - blood pooled in my



                                                                          called it love.


savoring spit swapped between

spectral tongues that have left the scene

plasma pulsing like an electric



everyday, I plopped down to the river

with a pole - for fishing, and a glass of

                                                                           wine --

I pierced my hooked curve inside

a dollar bill, dangling it above the water.


              & how all of those

              waterlogged suits with

              startup brains abandoned

             the safe and fought for that tip


squealing like pigs.

Confessions to Dante


There weren’t enough stones in the belly

to keep the Wolf of my story down, limbo


No huntsman came for me to carve

me out, I am still sitting swaddled in


I love you, but’s,

Of I was drunk


Of maybe someday

Of can I ask you something

My head in his mouth, cleaning

His teeth with my tongue,

He swallowed me whole,

sharein my bones with his friends,


like limbo, my frame lusted,

My conquering gluttinous,


his pants stiff with greed,

his throat angered,


My patience a heresy,

our love a violent


Your design fraudulent,

My revenge treacherous.


Your eyes the tenth and

eleventh circle.

J.T. Smith (they/he) has received an M.F.A from the University of North Carolina Wilmington and writes about the intersection of family, identity, and the body as political entities.  They are currently working on their first collection entitled I Grew Up in an Orchard With No Apples, and when not writing, they spend their days listening to Beyonce, hanging out with their cat, and getting into good trouble.

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