Friday, September 9, 2016

Still Life with a Hundred Crucifixions

Aaron Smith's new collection, PRIMER, is due from Pitt on October 5 of this year. Here's a dead-on comment from Tracy K. Smith about Aaron's work: "Aaron Smith is an expert at locating the spaces within spaces. ...he zeroes in on the places where doubt and possibility collide and unsettle our beliefs. (His poems) are graceful, full of humility and hard fact, and they aren’t afraid... Tracy actually went on to write that his poems weren't afraid to laugh, but I've ended her quote there because the poem I'm publishing here (its first appearance, I'm proud to say) is a fearless one indeed, charged by a dark and wounded beauty.  

Still Life with a Hundred Crucifixions                                                  

I never talked to men
after sex, just got dressed

and left, but he asked me to stay,
naked like that on the bed—

even after we’d gotten off,
toweled off—so I stayed,

though I was afraid to see him
as a person: his face tired

in the lamplight, suddenly older
than his on-line pic. He pulled

a book from the shelf: Jesus
on every page, rendered in oil

from other centuries, hungry
and sad, scrawny and hammered

to different-sized crosses, or thrown—
full color—in a tomb.

What is that shade of blue? Look
at the detail in the hands.

He took my hand, placed it
on each slick image:

How did the painter make his eyes look like that?
What makes someone’s eyes look like that?

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