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It is an honor to ever fell a tree.
It is an honor to close all the doors
in the house and what for. We used to,
at the swimming pool, dive down
to the bottom then swim across it,

and I was honored by gravity’s seeming lack
of interest in my weight. I am graceful when
I say, thank you earth, for allowing me
to choose how far to float from you.
I pick up hairs, and am glad for all those

I have left, and am glad that nearby may be
a field with a girl who has hair standing
in it. I make cries near identical to cheers.
I am humbled by aliveness, which continues
without my seeming to contribute

all that much. How honorific the sun
is, and fair, in that it is predictable at least
in its shining. To those who don’t think
of me: this doesn’t stop my living;
I am honored I wasn’t considered

for the position of lying down. I drink
the laudatory breakfast beverage. I drag
my accolades behind me like a blanket
when it’s cold in the house. What can I say
in the face of such deference and pride?

My speech is so: I thank geography
for changing slowly; I thank cliffs, flags,
and elephants for their large senses
of soul and self. I live in paradise now.
I have windows and they open at my whims.


Claire Sylvester Smith has recent work appearing or forthcoming in Boston Review, Agni Online, Indiana Review, Verse Daily, and Gulf Coast. She holds an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers and lives in Baltimore, Maryland.