Robert Smith Month
The hair of men
raised itself up, black and barbed.
Lips curled at one edge
and bled Ruby Woo red
and Roberts jaywalked like crows
in the back streets
in closed jackets. When we called their names, sheet lightning faces
looked back over shoulders, eyes questing; looked away.
Robert Smith Month had come too soon.
We all wanted to be the one
to understand — to get under the creaky leather jackets
and into the creaky hearts inside
to kiss better the open wound that was a mouth
to warm the skin
but they always looked away and walked on,
devastating the streets
casting bitter cabbage tree shadows.
There was no cure for winter
except spring. We lay awake
at night, our hearts
crouched like cold bulbs in the dirt.
Robert Smith Month had only just begun
and the birds wouldn’t sing.