For the Living on 12th/Catharine

At the park a birthday picnic glitters

safe as a mirage: soap bubbles float slow

past the Speedo-clad neighbor’s languid sprawl

beneath tinkling pop acoustic covers,

past the silver island of cone-capped guests

as rippling streamers breezily announce

another year gone, and what can they do

but mock the bottle’s label as they toast

one last livable, sour-tongued month of heat?


From a passing window, the driver sings

a PSA: “don’t be no fool baby


as boys spring launch tests off benches, turn sticks

to scepters hurled skyward as sister bolts

after them, a chain of vectors flashing

as a toddler in a flowered smock learns

to ride the rafts of her father’s feet raised

wave by wave, her open face exposed and

sunlit, helped and helpless, arms held up

Alexa Smith is a poet and essayist from Washington D.C. She lives in Philadelphia, where she works for a local textbook publisher, edits Apiary Magazine, and teaches creative writing at Temple University. Her work has appeared online in Entropy, Interim, Memoir Mixtapes, Peach Mag, Dark Wood, and STELLA Radio.