Poetry  January 2010 | issue 409

New Year

by Mark Smith-Soto

Mark Smith-Soto has been working for more than sixty years to write a perfect poem and doesn’t plan to quit anytime soon. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Icy rain and wind outside; inside, my back’s
To the bedraggled human shape asprawl
On the comfy corner sofa at the Starbucks,
Invisibly fenced from the rest of us by swells
Of back-alley scent. The glass door reflects
A knit cap pulled low over the face, chin
Buried in bulky red. I can only guess the leg
That catches my peripheral vision is a man’s,
Bulgy calf exposed — no way to quite make out
The tattoo stretching along the patchy skin, 
A blue range of mountains maybe, flock
Of seabird wings, with just a touch of sun —
Yes, sun, I don’t think I’m imagining it —
Rising from the folds of a gray sock.




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