When people say, “we have made it through worse before”
all I hear is the wind slapping against the gravestonesof those who did not make it, those who did notsurvive to see the confetti fall from the sky, those whodid not live to watch the parade roll down the street.I have grown accustomed to a lifetime of aphorismsmeant to assuage my fears, pithy sayings meant toconvey that everything ends up fine in the end. There is nosolace in rearranging language to make a different wordtell the same lie. Sometimes the moral arc of the universedoes not bend in a direction that will comfort us.Sometimes it bends in ways we don't expect & there arepeople who fall off in the process. Please, dear reader,do not say I am hopeless, I believe there is a better futureto fight for, I simply accept the possibility that I may notlive to see it. I have grown weary of telling myself liesthat I might one day begin to believe. We are not all leftstanding after the war has ended. Some of us havebecome ghosts by the time the dust has settled.
Copyright © 2019 by Clint Smith.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Clint Smith is a writer, teacher, and doctoral candidate at Harvard University. He is a recipient of fellowships from the Art For Justice Fund, Cave Canem , and the National Science Foundation. His writing has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review, the Harvard Educational Review, and elsewhere. His first full-length collection of poetry, Counting Descent, was published in 2016. It won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. His debut nonfiction book, How the Word Is Passed, is forthcoming from Little, Brown.
Founded in 2015, wildness is a literary journal that publishes poetry, fiction, and non-fiction.
Wildness was honoured to be featured by Poets & Writers in their ‘Nine New Lit Mags You Need to Read’ feature (October 2016), mentioning that “Wildness features formally inventive work by both established and emerging writers that embraces the mysteries of the self and the outside world.