Swimming Lessons

Swimming Lessons

Like water slowly rising,
your cries seep in,
gradually saturate my dreams.
I eventually wake up drowning in your neediness.
Or your klaxon jerks me awake,
yanks me from paradises and adult situations.

Either way, I’m up.
Bob on the edge of the bed
between coma and consciousness.
I’m coming, I say. Muttered curse. Useless anger.
Step away from my slumbering self,
the person I was,
stumble or stomp all the way to your door.
The transformation begins
once my hand touches the doorknob.

In the darkness, your wet face beams.
You reach your chubby hands up to me.

As I breathe into your hair,
take in your fading baby smell,
I desperately want us to sleep, to dream,
but we’re already beginning to miss this.

It All Started With an Eggplant

I didn’t believe the deep purple flesh offended you so.
Like a bruise, you said. And those seeds!
Maybe grilled and smoky, you’d mistake it’s hearty texture
for real meat. Then lasagna; a perfect disguise, I thought.
A sorry substitute for noodles, it turns out.

Don’t you love me? you asked.
Of course. But after that,
you knew better than to trust me.
That burger was a portobello mushroom,
wasn’t it? Did you think I wouldn’t notice
the mashed potatoes were really cauliflower?
Why is kale in everything!

He composed an Eater’s Manifesto and refused salads.
I moonlighted at farmer’s markets and co-ops,
lingered in produce sections all over town
fondling squash and squeezing tomatoes.
I even plotted a vegetable garden in the backyard;
gardening catalogs lie open, mocking him, throughout the house.

My culinary magic was no match for his carnivorous cravings.
Still, I learned a million ways to slice a carrot.
He learned a million ways to detect the truth.

PAD Challenge Day 5 prompt: Vegetables

Tick Tock

PAD Challenge Day 3 prompt: machine

Tick Tock

Tick tock, says the clock.
Stay a little longer.
Oh, I would; wish I could,
But there’s no time to linger.

Do not go. I’ll miss you so.
Take some time and stay.
I cannot. It’s our lot
To heed the call one day.

Tick tock, says the clock.
Time’s machine’s our master.
Drives the will. Please be still!
Its ticks grow ever faster.

C. O’Banion Smith


Two poems for Day 2.

All of Emily Dickinson’s Poems

should be read in a whisper;
thank God, the sacred, the True
held still for her long enough to be captured:
bits of beauty, a spinster’s past time
really treasure, evidence that the secret
life of the heart matters more
than even she would have believed.



I know
the gun is.


You can’t stop a true enemy. Listen.
Listen carefully.
No one wants to hear that you can’t win,
that the fight for your soul
is never over. I promise you
wits won’t work; even that will work
against you. The secret, what no one
who doesn’t already know will believe,
is that you must give up completely, lose absolutely,
and you must do it every day
to even begin to fight.

Courtney O’Banion Smith

Poetic Asides PAD 2015 Day 1
Prompt: Resistance