ON WORLDBUILDING

by Casey Smith

            after John Murillo’s “On…” series from Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry

do you have a coin? can i tell you a secret? when i talk to strangers 
            for too long, i can feel my personality wavering in and out of my ribcage. 
the truth is, i don’t smoke, but i wish i did, and i’m not a scorpio, 
            but i wish i was, and sometimes, i pretend joni mitchell will never die, 
and isn’t that terrible? actually ungodly. i think it’s why my deck stopped 
            listening. unfortunately, it makes sense: she’s barely been seen
in thirteen years, and if joni wanted to hide her immortality: her voice sunny-smooth 
            despite all those american spirit kisses, her blooming cheekbones, 
her dancing eyes, disappearing would be easiest. i imagine her carving darling 
            smile lines into a latex face. i imagine her blotting on sunspots 
and exhaling, pleased. it would be a total scorpio move. 
            and she’ll never die, and we won’t either. look. i can make the quarter dance
on my knuckles, isn’t it pretty? let’s cut each other’s bangs. 
            let’s be immortal and fly smack into the sun, and when we get there, 
we’ll kill gravity so everyone can dance all the time, everyone: 
            even if you’re not immortal, even if your joints are sliding out-of-tune, 
we’ll all leap into the sky, right, and it will finally hold us.


Photo by Paul C. Babin