Prayer for a New Song

Here in this narrow seat 

with a god’s eye view 

from the belly of unfathomable

mechanics, 36 077 feet

from the Earth, I want only to grace

the broad back of a man 

each tender moment his arm 

appears between his seat 

and the wall.

               I am no fool.

I can pull this line 

of desire until it yanks

free my father, or the idea

of my father who is ash


unsettling along the bed

of the St Lawrence

a short row from shore.


Years back, alive, his arms

were full, holding 


            A brambled mystery

he found impossible 

to set down. The hands

of a drunk hold everything

they shouldn’t.


being today, I listen to music 

on an airplane headed 

towards home. I resist touching 

a stranger. La Havas sings

We all make mistakes, we do.

I learned from you.

Michael V. Smith is a writer, performer and filmmaker who teaches in the interdisciplinary faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at UBC in the Okanagan Valley. Winner of the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for Emerging LGBT Writers, his most recent book is Progress, published by Cormorant Books. He is currently at work on his third collection of poetry.