Robin Healey-Smith is a 3rd Year MFA Poetry candidate at UNLV. There, he writes, teaches, and translates works of verse. He contributes to Witness – The Magazine of UNLV’s Black Mountain Institute and is a manuscript reader for the annual Interim Test Site Poetry Prize Series. He comes by way of Maiden Rock, WI, an unincorporated lake town with more bars than makes sense.
His room faces west,
overlooking the waterway
and its startling calm
in a as of yet barren, leafless spring.
The family is all there rotating through
the usual conversations, trying to forget
the scent of piss on bedsheets,
acting as if everything is alright,
a constant in and out of the room
a reprieve from the thermostat set to 83°.
There’s a pile of slag from
an old bridge fallen from its embankments
across the way, its jagged
boney edges stick out through the surface.
Above it, almost succumbing to the water, too,
a bark-stripped bough bears
some weary windswept nest.
Looking on now, I keep trying
to spot what must be a bird, winter-bristled,
hidden in that thicket of forest
eyeing a talon’s worth of trout
hungrily splashing from lake’s mouth.