robert lavett smith



The Netted Stars

     " if in your hands you held the netted stars..."
William Jay Smith

If in your hands you hold the netted stars
In some bright place beyond the realms of bone
Where what remains of flesh is only scars
Through which the winds of agony have blown—
If in the lap of your unquiet rest
Time touches nothing, neither birth nor death—
Are you the burning bubble best expressed
As exhalation of the glass man's breath?
Or does the glass, nostalgic for the sand
From whence it sprang, blur back into the sea?
The stunned skies incandesce: a reprimand,
An accusation through eternity.
How then shall we know grieving from desire,
And who can tell the martyr from the fire?

Born in Michigan in 1957, Robert Lavett Smith grew up in northern New Jersey, in a suburb of New York. Since 1987, he has lived in San Francisco, where for the past thirteen years he has worked as a Special Education Paraprofessional for the San Francisco Unified School District. He holds an M.A. in creative writing from the University of New Hampshire, where he studied with Charles Simic and Mekeel McBride. In 1982, he studied with Galway Kinnell, as a member of the Master Class at the 92nd Street Y in New York City.


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