National Poetry Month Day 12: Danez Smith





1989 – 2016

that close. edge of

almost. fled. looked

dead. was. tried. kept

it up. kept my

mouth so close. pills

nearer. seer

said. dust dust. was.

then wasn’t. missed.

hole in a night.

that was my face.

almost followed.

river’s no. won’t

mirror. it was

summer. November

so quick. i rocked

all gray. nickel

& sky. i was

so close. to my

last winter. just

past my touch. axed

my arms. i wrote

with aim. the year came.


Photograph of Danez Smith © David Hong.

Danez Smith is the author of Don’t Call Us Dead, winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection and a finalist for the National Book Award. They are the co-host of VS with Franny Choi, a podcast sponsored by the Poetry Foundation and Postloudness. Danez’s third collection, Homie, will be published by Graywolf in January 2020. More from this author →