Afterglow By Claude Clayton Smith


I offer words of love, turned from my tongue
in silent hours. Weak gifts, soft in thought,
I spill them at your feet—such feelings wrung
from lack of sleep, from everything I ought
to do except to dwell on you. All music seems
a minor key unless it sings of you, inhales
the air that you exhale, inspires dreams
that make you dream of hapless me, impales
my hapless heart. Yeah, yeah, go on: deride!
I picture your computer screen, your eyes
reflecting these same lines with something snide,
though you won’t dare admit your strident cries
for words not far from these, which linger still
in afterglow—before they’re rendered nil.

Claude Clayton Smith is a Professor Emeritus of English at Ohio Northern University. He is the author of eight books (a ninth is forthcoming) and co-editor/translator of three others. His own work has been translated into five languages, including Russian and Chinese. He holds a DA from Carnegie-Mellon, an MFA from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, an MAT from Yale, and a BA from Wesleyan. For further information, see his website:

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