Two Poems by Preston Smith

In Normandy, a Woman Births Joan of Arc

At delivery, a mother learns
the way the body is an ocean,
the way an ocean is a gift
to a people.

Oceans weave around land
& pool in hidden nooks,
are shaped by walls of sand
& faith.

At delivery, a mother learns
the way the body is an ocean,
the way an ocean is able to flow
wherever it must go.

Oceans see the worst of man:
war on water, war on sand
an endless tread over a body
at bay.

At delivery, a mother learns
the way the body is an ocean,
the way an ocean is pulled
by the moon.

Deification

She goes by many names & in each is a mother & in each a Persephone & a Demeter. There’s the theater of the earth with its soil soldiers who sit opposite the stars—seeds grow in the humming of her hunt. She’ll be heard this time, parade each street with intent, vomit terra like tar from her mouth. Venus in all her space & beautiful calamity is a mother earth, too. Snuffed campfires mark her stride & in each smoke trail a vision: fallen skies & kings, good love & good bones. In all their mapping, the stars never seemed to get her name just right.


Preston Smith (he/him) is an MA candidate in literature at Wright State University. He is a poetry editor for Periwinkle Literary Journal, and his debut chapbook Red Rover, Red Lover released from Roaring Junior Press in early 2020. He can be found on Twitter (and Instagram!) @psm_writes tweeting about his cats, baking, and fairy tales. His poems appear in Black Bough Poetry, Nightingale & Sparrow, and Pink Plastic House, among others.

Banner Art: Glow by Robert Frede Kenter

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