In an Atrium

By J.D. Smith


What kind of flamingo is that
standing there?

It is the kind
whose feathers do not blush
from eating pink shrimp.

It is the short-necked, broad-backed kind.

The kind that is, in fact, a crane,
one that’s light brown
and made not of flesh, but wicker
that portrays no single specimen,
which has its other places to be,
but the ideal crane, the archetypal crane
whose flight is said to represent transcendence,
whose pairing is an emblem of sign of fidelity,
bearing some message we would send ourselves.

This freighted flock of one
will not be rendered as a lawn ornament,
outlined in neon,
printed on a Hawaiian shirt.

One cannot ask all this
of a single flamingo.

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J.D. SMITH has published two collections of poetry, The Hypothetical Landscape (Quarterly Review of Literature Poetry Series, 1999) andSettling for Beauty (Cherry Grove Collections, 2005). Individual poems have appeared in The AwlLos Angeles ReviewNimrod andZócalo Public Square, as well as in several anthologies. He was awarded a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2007. His first children’s book, The Best Mariachi in the World, was published in bilingual, Spanish and English editions in 2008 by Raven Tree Press. Smith’s one-act play “Dig” was produced by CurvingRoad at London’s Old Red Lion Theatre in June 2010, and a film adaptation of “Dig” is currently in post-production at Meydenbauer Entertainment. His first collection of essays, Dowsing and Science, will be published by Texas Review Press in March of 2011. Smith is currently seeking publishers for two collections, one in free verse and a second in formal verse, and working on projects in several genres.

None of this allows him to quit his day job as an editor and writer in Washington, DC, where he lives with his wife Paula Van Lare and Roo the Rescue Dog and remains confident that he will finish his working life as a Washington outsider. He periodically provides updates of his writerly doings on his Weblog.

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