The Way

By Mark Smith-Soto


More light

is not the way

to deal with shadows,

just giving them edge and temper to slice back

the way

they’ve done since first they tore

from the sun peeking out behind the voluminous high skirts

of summer—

not like in the time

before time could make anything serious happen,

turn tadpoles into troglodytes, fish into flesh

into nightmares

of dust,

back when shape ran like music

and nothing knew how to matter,

when black absence itself

held its breath as


scoured heaven for the light switch

that someone lovely

had stashed

from him a while

to fend off all the shadows of the world,

the way only darkness can—

Mark Smith-Soto is Professor Emeritus of Spanish and long-time editor of International Poetry Review at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has published four chapbooks as winners or runners-up in various contests and two full-length poetry collections to date, Our Lives Are Rivers (University Press of Florida, 2003), and Any Second Now (Main Street Rag Publishing Co., 2006). His poetry, which has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize three times and won him an NEA Fellowship in Creative Writing in 2006, has appeared in Antioch Review, Kenyon Review, Literary Review, Nimrod, The Sun and many other publications. In 2010, Unicorn Press brought out his work of translation Fever Season, the selected poetry of Costa Rican writer Ana Istarú. His most recent works are Berkeley Prelude: A Lyrical Memoir (Unicorn Press, 2012) and the chapbook Splices (Finishing Line Press, 2013).

One thought on “The Way

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s