Ash Smith

You see these fingers thrumming inside

The varnished fire wheels?
Coreopsis, Betony
Shaky by the highway side.

The dust rises and drops into narcissus.
The red lilies sprung after houses
have fallen. Is that loyalty? Is that persistence?
Let me tell you a story. It starts in impotence.
The cruelty in which we are shed from the
Scene gorgeous as ox-eyes. I felt loaded
With tufts like a dogwood—there was a
Question of money. These are all just words.
I step into the stranger's car at night
but can't argue that it isn't mine.



This poem mainly stems from a serious uneasiness regarding the history of violence in, and brought forth by, Texas (my home state), a book on the influence of the film Bonnie and Clyde in the Vietnam war era, and Parker's own resistant but compelling poetry. At its heart are questions about rogue innocence, rebellion, and the strangeness of our inextricable connections to violence. Yet it's also indebted to Parker's poetry, as well as other entagled and haunted means of identification.