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Casey Smith is an MFA candidate at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She is an assistant poetry editor at Grist Journal. Her poems are published or forthcoming in Split Lip Magazine, underblongWax NinePassages North, and others. Find her on Twitter @aeyoei.

2 poems
by Casey Smith

Editor's note: We recommend reading "untitled goose poem" on desktop due to its unique formatting.

sonnet for an ugly strawberry

which looks more like two or maybe three strawberries
clamoring on top of one another, embracing, maybe
dancing, like maybe they were mid-shimmy, maybe
they were at that part of the electric slide where everyone giggles
and looks around like, do you remember this part do you do you
which is totally the ♡ best ♡ part of the electric slide
because you get to wander over to the person you really want to be dancing with
and be like, this is embarrassing. is this embarrassing?—i imagine
that in this jittery-kneed moment, the ugly strawberry was plucked
off the vine and frozen forever. mid-shimmy, mid-blush
forever. and i heard a rumor that sunflowers kiss each other every night,
and mushrooms snuggle and whisper back and forth,
         and i think all the ugly strawberries are in love, maybe a little too much,
         maybe it’s the wobbly kind of love, but honestly that’s what i’m best at too

untitled goose poem

          after Mary Oliver

didn’t have 2 be good,
             so i got high in a jeep and afterwards we all decided: wouldn’t it be nice to feed the birds! and then i was surrounded by half-strangers, and we were tearing up bread slices.  the lake was churning with wild geese, and i don’t like being high in the daytime because i feel like the sun is watching me. the geese were watching me too–for sure–watching all of us, and i was like, did you know geese have teeth on their tongues, and nobody said anything.

i kept it to myself at the time, but i’m telling you all now
             that geese are really dinosaurs:
if you let your eyes go soft and look at them,
you can feel the pulse of their wavering raptor gaits.
and i don’t know anything about science,
but i know when i’m in the presence
             of something ruthless and ancient
like, have you ever held a crab
                         and been swallowed by dread.
                                           and what if dinosaurs had pretty blue eyes too,
                                                                     and teeth lining the sides of their tongues.
                                                                     i think it would be sort of fun
                                                                     for them to dupe the scientists like that.
                                                                                 like: you can make me your whole life
                                                                     and never know me.
                                                                                 and you can miss me and miss me

                                                             but i never left. i’m a goose now         or whatever.
so we tossed the bread and a scuffle broke out, and stephen had to go sit in the car. he was like, i don’t want to play god. but i think this poem is about how if he wanted to play god, i would have let him. and the geese don’t care. it’s wonderful. and you know what else.  i’m pretty sure the comet never landed.  the wild geese frightened it away, eyes pricked,  tongues teethy,  a flickering blanket over the earth.  they’re too territorial for an apocalypse. i mean, i for one feel safer knowing they’re here.

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