In the Theater

When I was a thin boy I dreamed
I had dangerous bones,
sharpened them over a prone
brother, crunched fist
into his heart.
When I talked
to the girl with the silver glasses,
my elbows melted
into my sides, I couldn’t name
even half the quiet knot
I had turned into.
Squeezed close to her in Pearl
’s dark, I found I could reach
from my own body and know
for the first time
my hands are tender.
Leaned into her, my ear to her ear,
my face pressed so flush
next to hers in the theater,
I saw bombs go to fog
through her glasses,
fire turn to milk in the sea.


Ryan Patrick Smith is a native of Kentucky and a Kentucky Colonel. He earned his MFA in poetry from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and he teaches writing at a St. Louis-area college. He has also served as an assistant editor for WomenArts Quarterly Journal and as a community creative writing instructor. Currently, his poems appear in Salt Hill and Architrave. His website can be found at: