After an Inauguration (J.D. Smith)

Should I compare this to a summer’s day?

Not this time of year, in this hemisphere.

Instead, to the old vaudeville line.

The man, asked why he kept

hitting himself with a hammer, said

It feels so good when I stop. 

Except someone else was doing the hitting

and could have stopped long ago.

This might be compared as well

to the skittish festivities of the Ewoks

in Return of the Jedi, celebrating

what is likely less liberation than reprieve,

all most of us small beings can hope for.

Even this much has depended on so many—

of note, on Borat and Gritty. 

On the Black vote. 


J.D. Smith’s fourth poetry collection, The Killing Tree, was published in 2016, and his first fiction collection, Transit, is forthcoming in 2022. His other books include the essay collection Dowsing and Science (2011) and the children’s picture book The Best Mariachi in the World (2008). His work in several genres has appeared in The Awl, Boulevard, The Los Angeles Times and Terrain. Smith works as an editor in Washington, DC, where he lives with his wife Paula Van Lare and their rescue animals.


Image: M. M. Kaufman