“Limerence” and other poems by Palmer Smith


i loved a somnambulist
we’re like a No(thing), a No(body)
two no-bodies equal Somebody, right?
(re)-read my words
bottle of tequila, all the limes
all the girls you have loved,
shaken up in this cup i lovingly stirred

you stumble on red oak floors ceiling,
a map of london lon-don-ing you
illicit, (i)llicit you, i’d like to
“I need some tea…eaRl gRey”
i never could roll my “r’s” like you
Afraid to WAKE you
an alarm could ring;
a poptart-realization could occur
you might realize what’s happening
when you hear the 11 o’clock news
(world news tonight, it’s good to have you with us!)
Present, presently? a gunshot to knee on 4th street

limerence in honeycombs
honey-orange sandwiches dissemble my skin
i let the honey in just like you
so (fool)ish, like a clown face
with a red button as a nose
Dying out, the bees are
dying out, not you; you might be
(a)round for (some)(time)
brown-amber eyes, did you know
that insects are stuck in amber?
they cannot escape the stick-i-ness
of the sweet sap, i might become one of them,
my wings are too fragile to be touched by
a nothing like you your fingers,
prints, imprints, do you love me?

One Night You Grew Silent

You said you wanted me
when you turned to face the lamppost.
The snowflakes caught your eyelashes
on the last languid Christmas.

Your fingertips braided my hair.
Your chilled lips smoothed my legs.
Your breath in hot clouds warmed my skin.
Maybe I love you a little.

I stand in line at the Drug Store.
There are fake Christmas trees.
I stand in line with closed eyes.

In the warm bathwater
I inhale the exhaust
of a cigarette smushed
into my mother’s glass bowl.
A reflection of my stomach,
of what could be below it…

And then I hear the phone line go numb.
Lifted the window to devour the snowed
and bitten air on a wet,
soon to be whaled body.


Upon a mint leaf appeared a beet-red ladybug.
Her left wing dilapidated, her black eyes tearing,
She whispered into my ear, “My heart feels a-tug;
…my love has left me, and thus, I am fearing.”

I inquired as to what had occurred.
She turned her gaze towards the dampened ground.
“Infidelity,” was the only word.
She fluttered a wing, without a sound.

“What is heartbreak?” we asked one another.
The male species is so damn unsatisfied.
Heartbreak is when a heart no longer flutters;
It is faced with a stomping reality: he lied.

Body #19

They called me body #19
when I laid under the half-door
of this half-block,
depleted of what existed above.

Nineteen, an odd, uneven,
unsure number. I observe
a deleted city, uneven in its skyline,
like a mouth without its biggest teeth
to help swallow its food.
It coughs and begs for someone
to help it, with a flailing tongue.
It is one of many mouths.

A number identified me…
not my hair, or my skin colour.
I would be counted amongst 20.
This I did not know until weeks later,
when wild newscasters counted
the remaining bodies like stars
on their fingers.

To count 20 stars
in a Manhattan sky would be rare.
But bodies? What was rarer?

A waking moment: atop smoky glass
and blood burned atop wooden desks,
with loose elevator buttons,
I counted the people surrounding
the rubble. They amassed to more stars
than I would ever count,
even on a clear night.

© Palmer Smith 2020


Palmer Smith is an emerging writer who began her MFA in September 2020 at Columbia University. She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and wrote for the SLC Phoenix newspaper while in college. Her article, 23 Life Lessons was published in Thought Catalog, becoming an Editor’s Pick of the Week in June 2018. She writes about American Southern culture, relationships, childhood, and dreams. She hopes to teach writing and literature at the college level.

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