POETRY by Chelsey Weber-Smith

by Chelsey Weber-Smith

If we sped up the blooming of flowers

we'd be seeing fireworks everywhere now,

The pop from a bud, then the wide stretch of petals,

the going limp, the falling and fading to nothing.

Spring is early this year and I celebrated by jumping

into the water of a rock quarry and cutting my toe so open 
that the blood on the stone looked like blood pooling

in the dips of a steak. I was with a friend in the regal light

of the late afternoon, we took off our clothes shyly,

she jumped into the water first, gasping from the sharp

of a cold that cannot be prepared for, and then me.

She stood naked after, on the rock, covered in tattoos

like the grand finale of a fireworks show and was concerned 
as a mother about all the blood. I was drawing shapes with it, 
splattering it the way an artist might splatter paint.

I didn't know you had your nipples pierced

I said, she explained a dog had attacked her

and scarred her there, and that her ex husband

had said she had ugly tits, so she did it for herself.

I didn't know you had a tattoo on your ass

she said to me, and I showed her the sloppy handmade 
broken heart a friend had given me drunk,

how anything can become funny in time.

It's getting easier to stand naked in front of people,

as if I am finally remembering how to be a human

after an entire winter of pretending.

She looked beautiful, tough, and gentle, she smoked weed 
behind me and it smelled like every kind of love.

We drove back through the hills,

through the tiny Virginia towns,

her white towel stained with my blood,

she said she would be happy to see it years from now

and remember. Inside the dirty white,

slouching houses were moments

exploding in every kind of vibrance—

The pop, then the wide stretch,

the falling and fading to nothing.
Chelsey Weber-Smith is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia's MFA program in poetry. She also writes country music and rambles around the United States. She has written and self-published two chapbooks, a travel memoir, and two full-length folk/country albums. She currently lives in Seattle.